AT&T’s NextWave Takeover Began as Asset Sale

NextWave Wireless Inc., the once-bankrupt company that holds wireless spectrum licenses, was in talks with AT&T Inc. on an asset sale before the two sides reached a takeover agreement earlier this month, according to an Aug. 17 preliminary proxy filing.

AT&T, the largest U.S. telephone company, agreed to buy NextWave in a deal worth as much as $600 million in cash earlier this month. It will acquire NextWave’s debt and also pay $25 million to shareholders of the San Diego-based company, plus a contingent payment for an additional $25 million.

NextWave tried to sell licenses for its Wireless Communication Services, or WCS, airwaves to AT&T early last year, the filing says. After it failed to reach a deal in 2011, the company negotiated extensions on debt maturities with its creditors and re-engaged with the buyer early this year, according to the filing.

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