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360networks: It's a do over

Thu, 07/18/2002 - 8:00pm
Susan Rush

Roughly one year after seeking protection from creditors under the protective blanket of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, 360networks Inc. has submitted a reorganization plan that will enable the company to start over with less debt and a smaller operation.

The builder of fiber optic networks has proposed a plan that would give its senior secured creditors, led by JP Morgan Chase Bank, control of the new company, which would operate as a North American telecom network.

The company and 22 of its subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2001. At the time of the filing, the company said it had $2.7 billion in debt and roughly $155 million of unrestricted cash, cash equivalents, short-term investments and marketable securities. 360networks also said it planned to move forward with plans to complete "key" segments of its North American network.

Before filing for bankruptcy protection, 360networks had a dream of becoming an international powerhouse, but if the reorganization plan is approved by the courts, the company will focus its efforts on the U.S. and Canada. The new company would have roughly $215 million in debt and $50 million of cash on hand.

In a letter to its shareholders, 360networks said, "The grim realities of the telecom industry during the past year resulted in a reorganization plan that, like many corporate reorganizations, leaves no return for existing shareholders." Once the restructuring plan is approved, the former parent of the Canadian and U.S. subsidiaries, 360networks Inc., would be liquidated under Canadian bankruptcy laws.

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