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Teligent to revamp according to plan … sort of(2)

Wed, 01/23/2002 - 7:00pm
Anne Kerven
What a break — Teligent's proposed new look closely matches the restructuring plan outlined in August, with one difference. The former plan called for the bankrupt company's investors to raise money to revamp it, but this one will use "collateral proceeds" from asset sales. Teligent announced today it would start over as a privately held company owned by its senior lenders, with a new name and management, but sans retail operations, save for its long-distance business. It also retained Venture Asset Group to shed more than 20 of its central offices. Teligent, which provides fixed wireless broadband services, filed for bankruptcy in May. In August, it announced a $117.5 million bid from Teligent Acquisition Corp., a group of unidentified investors that would keep Teligent's management team intact. If TAC's bid won, Teligent COO Jim Continenza would be CEO. The company would name a new CFO. A Teligent spokesman in August would not say who the initial bidders forming the company were, nor could he say if there were other bidders, although he noted that TAC was a separate company and was raising funds through private sources. Bidders were competing for Teligent's core domestic fixed wireless business and assets, with the goal of funding operations in 11 markets, including Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York. In mid-October, a federal bankruptcy court was to determine the winner, but pushed the hearing date back to Oct. 30, and court clerks could not say why. "We did attend the auction, but no one else showed up," a source inside the company says. "But TAC didn't raise the money, either." Instead, Teligent started selling its retail assets, including $60 million for subsidiary Executive Conference Inc. It also announced today it would retain Venture Asset Group, a financial firm specializing in strategic asset spinoffs and divestitures, to manage the sale of more than 20 of Teligent's central offices in the United States. "Really, what it is is a much smaller company, and we're not in the retail business," the source says. The company will keep its wholesale business, which includes transport and fixed wireless point-to-point services, but will shed its retail businesses, except for the long-distance unit, she says. Proceeds from the sales will go partly to the new company and partly the senior lenders, "but there's a hierarchy there, she says. The new company has a name, but Teligent isn't disclosing what it is until the legal work is done, she adds. She also would not disclose how much of the proceeds would go toward the new company and how much to lenders. Under both plans, Teligent COO Jim Continenza would become CEO of the new company. A "subset" of 150 employees from Teligent will be retained, she says. The proposed revamp is subject to several approvals, the source adds.
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