Now, Ergen has had LightSquared taken out from under him. Private equity firm Centerbridge Partners has reached a tentative deal to purchase LightSquared for $3.3 billion. At the same time, $1.7 billion of LightSquared's debt will become the responsibility of Centerbridge. The entire deal would be part of a bankruptcy reorganization, but we should mention that the deal is not final and anything can happen at this point. Ergen is trying to put together enough wireless spectrum to create another major mobile carrier in the U.S., and buying LightSquared would allow Dish to get closer to making that dream a reality. Dish earlier bid $2.2 billion for LightSquared, an offer trumped now by Centerbridge.
Another group, Fortress Investment, is already a private investor in LightSquared and had hoped to make a bid for the company. Instead, on Wednesday Fortress pulled out of the bidding and has thrown its support to Centerbridge. One advantage Dish has is its deal is not contingent on FCC approval. Centerbridge wants to see the FCC approve the build out of LightSquared's LTE network before committing its cash.