US satellite TV giant – and aspirant wireless market entrant – DISH Network has reportedly made a USD2 billion ‘stalking horse’ bid for bankrupt open-access Long Term Evolution (LTE) start-up LightSquared. Bloomberg reports that the deal has yet to be shown to the bankruptcy judge in charge of the company’s case, noting that a so-called ‘stalking horse’ agreement would have to be approved by the judge before being used to open an auction; the process is used in bankruptcy proceedings to establish the minimum price for an asset sale.
DISH’s approach for the ill-fated LightSquared is the latest in a series of projected deals lined up by the company’s owner Charlie Ergen. The tycoon is in the midst of financing a USD25.5 billion bid to acquire Sprint Nextel, and in addition, January this year saw DISH make a USD2.2 billion bid for WiMAX-turned-LTE player Clearwire, which is itself subject to a takeover bid from its majority owner Sprint.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in February 2012 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declared that LightSquared’s use of non-traditional frequencies in the 1.4GHz and 1.6GHz bands interfered with GPS satellite navigation devices and aircraft flight safety equipment. Subsequent months saw the stricken company beset with myriad financial and legal problems, before being forced into bankruptcy in May last year.