L3 Sells Coal Mine

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

L3 Sells Coal Mine

Not many people knew that Level3 owned a coal mining operation. It was sold off last week. I do not know if L3 still owns the software integration business. (I can't find any indications in the earnings reports.)

According to the earnings, it looks like L3 is bringing less than $4B in revenue at $927M in 3Q2011 and $913M in 2Q2011. L3 closed its acquisition of Global Crossing on October 4, 2011. L3 refinanced approximately $1.36 Billion of GC debt. GC also had notes for $430M, $750M and $150M (at 9% and 12%). It was a $3B transaction that was supposed to have just $1.1B in debt attached. Looks like more. VentureBeat wrote, "Both companies are losing money. Level 3 lost $622 million last year and has been unprofitable since 1998. Global Crossing lost $172 million in 2010 and last turned an annual profit in 2003."

Most of the L3 revenue is wholesale business like being the back office for most of the VoIP Providers out there - directly and indirectly through resellers. L3 says that very little - maybe 1% of total revenue - comes in from the Channel, which is likely since, again, most of the revenue is in wholesale, which the channel doesn't sell. L3 is hoping the channel will sell some CDN, Vyvx Broadcast and website optimization services. Meanwhile, also selling big bandwidth, transport and voice.

By its own numbers, L3 should be doing better. It has 27,000 metro route miles with 100K enterprise buildings within 500 feet of its fiber. It has over 200 data center facilities with over 2 million square feet of space. It has a unique video broadcast platform and optimization services (Vyvx, CDN and similar offerings). Combined it should be doing more revenue, but some of it is commoditization and price pressure. Some of it is the reputation it garnered during the last round of acquisition integration. L3 is certainly a good alternative to the RBOC's, when it has fiber in the area.


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