FirstNews Briefs for March 8, 2010
• Verizon Wireless' parent company Verizon Communications is recommending that its shareholders ignore an unsolicited "mini tender offer" made by TRC Capital Corp. to purchase up to 3 million shares of Verizon stock at $28 per share, below Verizon's current market price of about $29.27 per share. Verizon currently has more than 2.8 billion shares outstanding, and the offer represents approximately one-tenth of 1 percent of shares outstanding. So-called "mini-offers" are designed to seek less than 5 percent of a company's outstanding shares in order to fall below the threshold of various investor protections provided by U.S. securities law. Verizon also declared a quarterly dividend of 47.5 cents per outstanding share, unchanged from the previous quarter.
• Motorola has launched a new program for its channel partners. The PartnerEmpower program is comprised of three program tracks: wireless network solutions, mobility and radio. The tracks will be rolled out in stages over the next 18 months, and existing government, public safety and enterprise channel partners will be gradually transitioned into the appropriate track without business interruption. In the meantime, existing programs will remain unchanged.
• Prepaid provider Page Plus Cellular is adding brand new cell phones to its handset offering, which until now has consisted of strictly refurbished models. The first new model, the Kyocera Mako S4000, will be available March 8 and retail for $99.95. Page Plus will also release its own brand new qwerty keyboard handset within two months.
• Geos Communications has acquired China-based mobile kiosk company Duo Guo. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Duo Guo is the primary retail channel for the discovery and download of licensed mobile media content in China. Duo Guo currently operates more than 75 kiosks in 15 cities across China including Shanghai and Beijing, and the Guangzhou, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, and is rapidly opening more kiosks.
• Tecore has been tapped to expand the GSM network of Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative (ASTAC) to cover Prudhoe Bay, the largest oil field in North America. The network will use Tecore's FarSite extended-range feature – quadrupling the standard range of a GSM base station and slashing cost of installation in remote locations – to ensure robust service to both the established fields in the core area as well as exploration out on the edge.
• Enterprise and mobility software company Sybase has extended its stock buyback program for the repurchase of up to an additional $150 million of the company's outstanding common stock and the company's notes convertible into common stock. With today's $150 million increase, the total amount available under the stock repurchase program is $233.3 million. Prior to today's repurchase program increase, Sybase has repurchased about $1.4 billion of its common stock and notes since 1998.
• Ciena has plans to raise $250 million in a private debt offering of Convertible Senior Notes due 2015. Ciena intends to use approximately $243.8 million of the funds to replace its existing debt contract as part of its pending acquisition of Nortel's optical networking and carrier Ethernet assets.