Harbinger’s wireless bet rankles investors
August 30, 2010
Philip Falcone likes hard-to-value private equity, but now it’s his entire fund, which could exacerbate losses
Most hedge funds chose not to put illiquid private equity investments directly into their hedge funds after getting burned on those investments during the financial crisis of 2008. Not so Philip Falcone, whose Harbinger Capital Partners was forced at that time to put more than a third of its portfolio into a side pocket that still has not been fully liquidated.
And now Falcone has a huge private equity bet right in his dwindling flagship hedge fund. About 98% of his $3.4 billion flagship fund’s net asset value is in telecom, telecom services and cellular telecom positions, the bulk of which is private. The valuation of those positions is so uncertain that Harbinger Capital Partners could be nursing heavier losses than it is reporting, according to investors. Through mid-August, the fund lost 13%, a number that could be double that amount because of leverage, some fear.
The main worry...
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