Worldspace satellites on sales block

Bankrupt satellite radio broadcaster Worldspace’s upcoming sale of its assets will be a fully open auction. According to Court documents, Worldspace is in the process “of attempting to sell substantially all of their operating assets”.

After the submission of bids, says the Court, “the sale of [Worldspace] assets is the next significant step in the sale process [,,,] and would leave [Worldspace] with no valuable remaining principal assets”.

According to the Delaware bankruptcy court filings Worldspace is currently in discussion with a number of potential financial and strategic purchasers, who have signed confidentiality agreements and had access to a “data room” containing confidential information about the Debtors’ assets and business.

The auction, to the “highest and best bidders”, is scheduled for Monday Jan 26, with a Sale Hearing slated for Jan 29.

Up for sale are the company’s leases, a portion of the Singapore Telecom teleport lease, plus a host of computers, ground control equipment and such like. Of particular interest are Asset 9, the Afristar satellite; Asset 10, being the Asiastar satellite; Asset 3, described as “a satellite construction in progress”; and Asset 4, being “Satellite No 3 (F3)”.

Some 1576 other lots are on offer, ranging from office equipment to sophisticated test and transmission kit. Also up for sale are assorted patents and transmission licences with most countries on the planet covered. Assorted patents covering “Real-time information delivery system for aircraft” might also interest some players, as might Worldspace’s trademarks including AfriSpace and AfriStar.

Worldspace’s numerous unsecured creditors have managed to persuade the Delaware bankruptcy court to create special access to the detailed information in the Court’s hands.

Back on October 29, Worldspace managed to keep a degree of control over the amount of information that outside parties were able to examine. The Court on Jan 13 altered that position, allowing creditors access to information in Worldspace’s hands. The list of fresh data that will now be available includes:

- General information concerning Worldspace and its fellow bankrupt companies
- Written reports summarising the current legal proceedings
- Highlights of significant and material events in the cases
- Creation of a calendar highlighting key upcoming dates
- Responses to questions raised by creditors

However, the Bankruptcy Court has ruled that if a creditor is a market competitor of Worldspace, or a prospective competitor, then no information need be disclosed.

Worldspace Systems Corporation (WSC), one of the bankrupt companies, has admitted that it is “likely” to be in violation of Maryland law in that it has not paid staff their salaries. The total liability is $266,169 in back pay, and $271,527 in unpaid leave pay. Separately, Worldspace Inc owes $846,367 in compensation for accrued leave, and $266,169 in back pay.