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Spectrum holding company Straight Path Communications this week said it locked down a $17.5 million loan from investors to pay recent fines levied by the FCC while it figures out its next move.

According to a Tuesday release from the company, the funding came from a syndicate of investors, led by long-term shareholder Clutterbuck Capital Management LLC. Straight Path reported the loan is senior secured and the lenders have initially received approximately 252,000 warrants with a strike price at $34.70, as part of the financing package. The loan will carry an annual interest rate of 5 percent through June 30, 2017, with that figure increasing to 10 percent thereafter.

In an SEC filing, Straight Path indicated the loan is currently its only source of debt and is secured by its spectrum assets.

The $17.5 million funding total is more than enough to cover the $15 million Straight Path has to lay out over the next nine months as part of a settlement with the FCC, giving the company breathing room to focus on what CEO Davidi Jonas called “strategic alternatives.”

“This investment is timely and enables us to move quickly to explore the exciting opportunities in the rapidly expanding 5G sphere and broader wireless industry,” Jonas said. “Our obligations over the next nine months to the FCC are covered, and we can now turn our focus to exploring strategic alternatives for the company in order to maximize shareholder value.”

Those alternatives will presumably include the sale of some of the company’s 28 GHz and 39 GHz spectrum, since as part of the settlement Straight Path faces deferred payment of $85 million unless it offloads all of its remaining licenses within 12 months. If it fails to announce a transaction within the next year, Straight Path will have to pay the $85 million fine or surrender all of its remaining licenses to the FCC.

Straight Path holds 735 millimeter wave licenses in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands and an average of 620 MHz in the top 30 U.S. markets. The company’s holdings represent about 95 percent of the commercially available 39 GHz spectrum licenses as well as a significant portion of available 28 GHz spectrum, including in key markets like New York and San Francisco.

The loan, of course, takes pressure off Straight Path to take the first available deal, and will allow it to hold out slightly longer (though the clock will still be ticking) for a price it likes for the airwaves. Should a deal go through, Straight Path must hand over 20 percent of any sale proceeds to the Commission.

Speculation has swirled about just how high a price Straight Path’s spectrum can command given Verizon’s expected purchase of 28 GHz airwaves from NextLink for just $200 million and lower than anticipated prices brought in by the FCC’s ongoing spectrum auction.

Investors behind the funding, however, seem confident that sunshine is on the horizon.

“We are highly encouraged by Straight Path’s recent FCC settlement and its unique position as the most significant holder of newly regulated, commercially available 5G spectrum,” Robert Clutterbuck, managing partner at Clutterbuck Capital Management LLC, said. “We are glad to help finance the company at this critical juncture, and we look forward to seeing the positive developments continue.”

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