Phil Falcone Gets Testy With the News Media

Billionaire Harbinger Capital manager Phil Falcone has a bone to pick with the news media, and would prefer that his investors not discuss his hedge fund with reporters, according to Reuters.

On a conference call with investors, Falcone expressed disapproval over media coverage of his $3 billion investment in LightSquared, a company that aims to provide high-speed Internet access to 260 million Americans in the next five years. (By the way, Reuters has been aggressively covering the LightSquared investment.) With roughly $9 billion under management, Falcone’s fund has cast a substantial portion of its chips into the LightSquared pot. He is not happy with the way the media has characterized this outsized bet, Reuters said:

“He started off by talking about the press, saying they don’t have the facts straight and that he was upset with investors for leaking info,” said a person who listened on the call.

Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners fund is down 13 percent this year, says Reuters, and another Falcone fund has dropped 18 percent. Falcone made his fortune and earned his reputation as a hotshot fund manager by betting in 2007 that the U.S. subprime housing market would implode.

Harbinger Capital has engaged in squabbles with media titans in the past, albeit in a different way. The fund at one point owned around 19 percent of The New York Times‘ stock as part of an effort to agitate for change in the company. Falcone got two representatives seated on the Board of Directors, but has been scaling back his investment.

Phil Falcone Gets Testy With the News Media