Business report

Sovryn flight plan: Philip Falcone shares his aspirations

Monday, RBR+TVBR readers shared with readers the news that Sovryn Holdings, a licensee created to acquire low-power television stations and run by Philippe Falcone, had not appeared as the buyer of a Lotus Communications property in Phoenix. RBR+TVBRThe headline referred to the non-consummation of a July 2021 transaction agreed to by each party as a “flop”.

Falcone took umbrage at the description of the dissolution of the agreement, and recounts RBR+TVBR it’s all part of a larger plan for Sovryn in the Valley of the Sun.

With Patrick Communications as the seller’s official broker, Sovryn signed a $2 million asset purchase agreement for KPHE-LD 44, licensed to Phoenix. The station comprises five subchannels and has a transmitter atop Phoenix’s famous South Mountain.

It was the latest in a series of acquisitions by Sovryn seen in 2021, which include a $5.4 million purchase of CGTN America-affiliated WXNY-LD 32 At New York; $ 1.05 million transaction about to give him KDTL-LD 16 in St. Louis; a $5.25 million deal with Prism Broadcasting Network to WANN-CD 20 in Atlanta; a $1.5 million purchase KVSD-LD in San Diego; and LPTV building permits sold by Mako Communications.

With February 24, 2022, Lotus submitting a non-consummation notice, it seemed clear that Sovryn was unable to move forward with the deal. Sources familiar with the matter expressed frustration over the dissolution of the deal. Another source says RBR+TVBR the Phoenix non-consumer advisory is the second to imply a reversal at Sovryn.

Friday (18/03), Falcone attacked RBR+TVBR for his use of the word “flop” in the March 14 headline, suggesting that, rather than an about-face on the decision to buy KPHE, he had been financially unable to compete for the deal.

“I didn’t ‘flop’,” he said, “it was my choice not to close.”

Why? “We are doing something different and we are buying other stations [in Phoenix]”, Falcone said.

Asked to elaborate on the plan, Falcone declined to give details at this time. But, pressed to provide details, he replied: “We are going in a completely different direction.” The filing of an asset purchase agreement for two different properties in the Phoenix market is expected to occur in the coming weeks.

Falcone, however, clarified that Sovryn “didn’t need this station”, referring to KPHE.

As such, Lotus, under the direction of the first vice-president Jim Kalmenson, instead agreed to sell KPHE to gray television to a $250,000 haircut.

Falcone also shared a glimpse of his vision at Sovryn Holdings, noting that he’s up to “something completely unique and different,” hence his decision not to go through with the deal with KPHE.

Falcone launched Sovryn after the end of a difficult tenure at the helm of HC2 Holdings. His departure in June 2020 was the subject of a cloud of negative headlines in New York news outlets. There were accusations that Falcone failed to repay his loans. His assets were frozen for not having compensated his legal representatives. This follows a 2019 court order that saw HC2 withhold part of Falcone’s salary instead of some $2.69 million in unpaid New York City taxes.

The bad press hasn’t stopped for Falcone, with the New York Post earlier this month, detailing – in a decidedly negative tone – his decision to sell the furnishings of his posh Lenox Hill townhouse on Manhattan’s East Side. The 7-bedroom, 12-bath residence with 13,300 square feet, one block east of Central Park, is currently listed for $27.5 million. This follows articles in Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and The real deal which were less than flattering.

In December 2021, WSJ Journalist Rachel Louise Ensign wrote: “Philip Falcone was worth over $2 billion ten years ago. Last year he represented himself in court, saying he could not afford a lawyer. “I’m behind on virtually every one of my bills,” Falcone told a hearing in a lawsuit brought by one of his many creditors. ‘Including my children’s school fees.’ She also reported that the IRS is asking Falcone for $7.7 million.

Despite all the noise from the press, Falcone appears to be squarely and confidently focused on advancing Sovryn Holdings’ master plan – one that involves the free-to-air launch of a tie-in platform. GO.tv.

“Go.TV is the next generation of broadcast television – for everyone, everywhere,” he says.

GO.tv’s main selling point?

Turn your iPhone and iPad into a mobile TV antenna.

The company explains, “Go.TV’s proprietary hardware will allow iPhone and iPad devices to have OTA viewing capability – allowing access to not just Go.TV’s broadcast programming, but all broadcast stations. (NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, etc.) for free! No data charges, no cable charges… Devices are coming soon!

A Phoenix station is listed on the GO.tv website.

GO.tv’s management includes Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer Henry Turner, Director of Broadcast Management Dennis Davis, Marketing Professional Warren Zenna and Controller Cathy Viola.

GO.tv is a subsidiary of Madison Technologies Inc., which trades on the OTC as “MDEX”. It is currently priced at $0.1949 per share.

How GO.tv unfolds is Falcone’s primary focus as Sovryn seeks to grow, with a vision coming to fruition under an acquisition plan that is clearly evolving. And, it comes with the full confidence of an individual determined to move forward with new personal and professional success.