A US bankruptcy court approved Iridium's interim financing plan today, giving the ailing satellite phone venture just under two weeks to prevent its business going into liquidation.
The company will receive an additional $3m (£1.9m) from lenders, following the withdrawal of a purchase plan last Friday by mobile phone entrepreneur Craig McCaw and his Eagle River investment firm.
The Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan also set a deadline of 15 March for Iridium to find new backers or a purchaser, in a hearing that lasted only 25 minutes.
Iridium's attorney William Perlstein claimed that Eagle River's pullout was not a bargaining tactic and that it was asking for only a small amount of money from any potential purchaser.
He said that investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette was contacting 21 companies that had in the past expressed an interest in the firm to see if any of them would be prepared to bid for it.
He added that Iridium also intended to use the grace period to prepare a plan for removing its network of satellites from orbit and would implement the plan on 17 March if no backer were found.
The scheme would take between six and seven months to execute and would require co-ordinated work with several US government agencies, he explained.
Judge Cornelius Blackshear set a hearing date of 17 March for Iridium to present its de-orbiting plan and its budget for liquidating its other assets to the court.
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