LightSquared taps new merger-focused financial chief

LightSquared cites Marc Montagner's experience both as an investment banker and at Sprint, where he was responsible for the merger with Nextel.

LightSquared today appointed Marc Montagner, a veteran of major telecommunications deals, to the role of chief financial officer.

Montagner's appointment may signal LightSquared's willingness to strike a deal or partnership. One of Montagner's prior roles was the head of merger-and-acquisition activities for Sprint, helping to usher in the $70 billion merger with Nextel back in 2005. He was also co-head of Banc of America Securities' telecom, media and technology merger group.

Montagner had been executive vice president of sales, marketing, and strategy at SkyTerra, which was absorbed by LightSquared in 2010. LightSquared plans to take advantage of his experience and work on issues associated with re-purposing SkyTerra's satellite spectrum for terrestrial use.

LightSquared is attempting to use SkyTerra's--and its own--spectrum to build a terrestrial 4G LTE network. But the start-up, backed by hedge fund Harbinger Capital and Philip Falcone, has run into massive opposition from the GPS industry, which claims the company's proposed network would cripple critical equipment.

Last month, LightSquared pressed the Federal Communications Commission for approval of the network. That's despite a recent test that found that LightSquared's wireless network would interfere with a majority of GPS devices.

Sprint told Dow Jones Newswires on Sunday that it had granted LightSquared a 30-day extension from its December 31 deadline to get FCC clearance to operate its network. LightSquared and Sprint have a network-sharing deal under which LightSquared would use Sprint's infrastructure to run its network. In exchange, Sprint would be able to use some of LightSquared's spectrum for its own 4G LTE network.

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