First Avenue Networks, a wireless spectrum leasing company, agreed to pay about $105 million in stock for the assets of Teligent Inc., a Herndon company that was considered one of the area's rising stars during the dot-com boom.
Teligent is a provider of high-speed wireless services to businesses. But First Avenue Networks of Charlottesville is primarily interested in Teligent's spectrum licenses, which will allow the company to offer more capacity in major cities to the mobile phone carriers and Internet service providers that are its customers, according to its president and chief executive, Dean Johnson.
First Avenue Networks also will acquire Teligent's broadband service, which it plans to keep running, and its transmission radios. Johnson said he did not know yet whether any of Teligent's 41 employees would be laid off.
Teligent's wireless services transmit data using microwaves that bounce from one rooftop antenna to another, allowing the movement of data and voice communications without relying on the regional phone companies.
Founded in 1996, Teligent was valued at $4 billion at the height of the dot-com frenzy in the spring of 2000. At its peak, it had 3,400 employees.
The company entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2001, with $1.21 billion of assets and $1.65 billion of debt. Teligent emerged in September 2002, owned by a group of banks and creditors.
First Avenue Networks is a reincarnation of Advanced Radio Telecom Corp. of Bellevue, Wash., a onetime competitor of Teligent that also filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and was purchased by private investors.
Johnson said he approached Teligent's management about a deal in December but was rebuffed. He said Teligent was sold to Aspen Advisors LLC, a New York private equity firm, in the past two weeks and the new owners were more receptive to a deal. Teligent executives could not be reached for comment.
First Avenue Networks has agreed to issue 25.2 million shares of stock and warrants to purchase an additional 2.5 million shares to pay for the Teligent assets. The stock and warrants are worth about $105 million based on the stock's $3.80 closing price on Wednesday, the day before the deal was announced. First Avenue Networks' common shares gained 75 cents to close at $4.55 yesterday.
The transaction, which First Avenue Networks expects to complete by the end of the year, needs the approval of the Federal Communications Commission.