Globalstar Strikes Back Against Short-Seller Attack

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PARIS — Mobile satellite services provider Globalstar on Oct. 9 mounted a defense against a short-seller investor whose attack savaged Globalstar stock, with Globalstar Chief Executive Jay Monroe saying he stands ready to add to his $600 million investment in the company to take advantage of its collapsed stock price.

In a nearly two-hour conference call with investors, company officials sought to dismantle the down-with-Globalstar investment thesis published Oct. 6 by Kerrisdale Capital Management. Kerrisdale said Globalstar’s hope of using its spectrum to sell a carrier-grade, secure Wi-Fi service was going nowhere because there is no shortage of Wi-Fi spectrum.

Kerrisdale further said Globalstar’s core satellite business is sputtering, and that the company will be unable to pay its debts without a large new capital raise.

Most of the Globalstar presentation was to discuss the current Wi-Fi spectrum status and the promise of Globalstar’s Terrestrial Low Power Service (TLPS), which uses Globalstar’s current satellite spectrum to add to the available Wi-Fi bandwidth.

John Dooley, who is described as the inventor of TLPS and is founder of Jarvinian Advisors of Boston, laid out the TLPS case and said Globalstar’s satellite constellation is a crucial enabler of it.

Dooley suggested that Kerrisdale, which had talked to him and to Globalstar management about its concerns starting in July, did not understand the physics of spectrum allocation and did not understand the relative merits of the 2.4-gigahertz spectrum used by current Wi-Fi and proposed for Globalstar’s TLPS; and the 5-gigahertz spectrum that Kerrisdale said would relieve any Wi-Fi congestion.

Among other advantages, Dooley said, Globalstar’s worldwide satellite spectrum authorization means TLPS partners will be under no deadline to deploy their networks. They can invest at their own pace.

Monroe’s Thermo group of companies is Globalstar’s owner and principal investor. Monroe said Thermo has sunk more than $600 million into Globalstar “and has not sold a single share” since it became a shareholder.

Asked if he would be purchasing Globalstar stock now that it has dropped by about 40 percent under the Kerrisdale pressure, Monroe said he is restricted from purchasing new shares for the moment as Globalstar prepares its quarterly earnings report. Once the restriction is lifted, he said, “I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Thermo buying an additional position.”

“We have bought the stock aggressively at every dip,” Monroe said. “We are precluded from doing so now because Globalstar is in a blackout period before the end of the quarter. That is a problem for me because I would like nothing more than to buy as much Globalstar stock as I could.”

As to Kerrisdale’s allegation that Globalstar will not be able to meet its loan covenants, Monroe said the company has “consistently exceeded our financial covenants and we have retained as a feature of our loan agreements unlimited cures that are non-material in size.”

Monroe said the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is expected to issue a license ruling by the end of the year on Globalstar’s TLPS proposal.