San Diego Business Journal

Securities Filing: Nextwave Wireless May Seek Bankruptcy Protection

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Nextwave Wireless Inc., a San Diego-based holder of wireless spectrum licenses, reported a net loss of $264 million for 2011 compared with a net loss of $116.6 million for the prior year, and said in a March 12 securities filing that it may have to file for bankruptcy protection for a second time.

The company said its aggregate secured indebtedness as of Dec. 31 was $1.02 billion, and that its cash reserves weren’t sufficient to meet payment obligations.

Should the company be unable to work out an extension with its bondholders or find alternative financing, the bondholders could proceed to take back the company’s pledged collateral, Nextwave said.

“These conditions raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern,” Nextwave said in the securities filing. “Insufficient capital to repay our debt at maturity would significantly restrict our ability to operate and could cause us to seek relief through a filing in the United States Bankruptcy Court.”

This would be the second time that Nextwave has filed for bankruptcy. In 1998, the business filed for such protection when it was unable to make payments on the $4.6 billion it owed for some 200 wireless licenses it won at an auction in 1996 conducted by the Federal Communications Commission. That action triggered a lengthy court battle regarding the ownership of licenses, which were returned to the company. Nextwave emerged from bankruptcy in 2005.

Nextwave sold off its main subsidiary, PacketVideo, in 2010 to a Japanese company, netting $107 million in the deal, but has since become a wireless spectrum licensee trader.

Now traded on the Pink Sheets Exchange under the ticker NEXT.PK, shares were at 14 cents March 13, and have ranged from 6 cents to 72 cents in the past 52 weeks.

— Mike Allen