Private equity firm to buy LightSquared

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the private equity firm Centerbridge Partners has a tentative deal to buy wireless broadband provider LightSquared out of bankruptcy in a deal worth $3.3 billion.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon

Private-equity firm Centerbridge Partners will buy LightSquared out of a bankruptcy, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday afternoon.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, the Journal says the tentative deal calls for Centerbridge to pay $3.3 billion for the wireless company, which had planned to build a nationwide wireless broadband network using wireless spectrum that had originally been allocated for satellite use. As part of the deal, the private equity firm will also assume about $1.7 billion in liabilities, the Journal said.

Charlie Ergen, founder of the satellite TV provider, Dish Network, has already offered about $2 billion for LightSquared. But the company's special committee has decided to negotiate a deal with Centerbridge.

LightSquared filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2012 after the FCC blocked the company's plans to build its wireless broadband network. The GPS industry had lobbied aggressively against LightSquared, claiming the company's technology interfered with GPS navigation technology. LightSquared has made several attempts to rectify the concerns and the company says it has mitigated any interference problems.