Wireless industry trailblazer, Craig McCaw, is believed to have made a bid for satellite telephone company, Iridium, last Friday and is currently in negotiations with its largest investor, Motorola.
According to a report by Tim O'Neil, an analyst with the SoundView Technology Group, the move follows his $1.2 billion offer for ICO Global Communications last month.
O'Neil said the cash infusion would help the fledgling satellite venture to launch its service in April 2001 and would probably land McCaw a seat on the board.
And if his bid for Iridium succeeds, he would also gain two companies that filed for bankruptcy protection in August.
O'Neil added that combining the two firms would give McCaw competitive advantage over Globalstar Telecommunications, a satellite based phone network that is 45 per cent owned by Loral Space & Communications.
But a spokesperson for McCaw would only say that he is: "exploring an investment opportunity with Iridium".
The much publicised $5 billion Iridium project, which is setting up a global voice and paging network, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August after failing to attract enough subscribers.
At the time, it had an estimated 20,000 subscribers, and despite projecting that it would hit 600,000 by the end of the year, defaulted on $1.55 billion in bank loans.
While investing in a struggling company that is attempting to do business in an unproven market may seem risky, McCaw has made unusual moves before.
He took a $10 million stake in a cellular phone network and sold it to AT&T in 1994 for $11.5 billion, and is also a partner, with Microsoft's Bill Gates, in Teledesic. The ambitious satellite venture is due to open for business in 2004 and is billed as "Internet in the sky."
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