CLINTON, Miss. – The Nasdaq stock market said Monday it would delist securities of WorldCom Inc. (WCOME), including its long-distance tracking stock MCI Group, for failing to comply with its rules that it remain current in its filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
WorldCom said it expects its securities to trade outside of mainstream U.S. stock markets on what is known as the "pink sheet" listings under the tickers WCOEQ, MCWEQ and MCPEQ.
WorldCom, which earlier this month filed for the world's largest corporate bankruptcy, on Monday tapped two members of a corporate turnaround firm to oversee its restructuring and straighten out its finances.
The long-distance telephone and data services company said it hired Gregory Rayburn as chief restructuring officer and John Dubel as chief financial officer. Both are principals with AlixPartners LLC, a restructuring firm that was recently hired by bankrupt retailer Kmart Corp. and last year worked with auto parts maker Hayes-Lemmerz International Inc.
The executives will oversee WorldCom's restructuring — including negotiating with existing creditors, evaluating proposals, overseeing the development of financial projections, disseminating information to stakeholders and overseeing the sale of any noncore assets.
WorldCom also said it reached agreements to transfer its nearly 2 million wireless phone customers to other service providers as it prepares to close its money-losing wireless unit by the end of September.
CREDITORS COMMITTEE FORMED
Meanwhile, a U.S. trustee selected a 15-member committee to represent WorldCom's various unsecured creditors, who include banks that loaned money to the company, as well as bondholders, equipment vendors and insurance companies.
The committee includes representatives from Electronic Data Systems Corp., SunTrust Banks Inc. as indenture trustee, Wilmington Trust Corp. as indenture trustees, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Deutsche Bank AG and AOL Time Warner Inc., Metropolitan West Asset Management LLC, Ceberus Capital Management LP, Blue River LLC, ESL Investments, GSC Partners, Law Debenture Corp. Services Inc as indenture trustee, New York Life Investment Management LLC, Elliott Management Corp., and ABN Amro Bank N.V.
Indenture trustees oversee bond sales for others and themselves.
WorldCom filed bankruptcy earlier this month, buckling under $40 billion in debt and a $3.85 billion accounting scandal. The company fired CFO Scott Sullivan, who it alleged orchestrated the accounting debacle. CEO Bernie Ebbers resigned under pressure in April.
WorldCom, which transmits half of the world's Internet traffic, was charged with fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and faces an investigation by the Department of Justice.
Hiring the restructuring specialists will allow WorldCom's management team to focus on retaining customers and maintaining service levels rather than being distracted by legal quagmires during the reorganization, analysts said.
Rayburn has experience in operations, financial analysis, mergers and acquisitions, and valuations. He joined AlixPartners in August 2000 and most recently headed the successful restructuring of Sunterra Corp.
Dubel's restructuring experience includes operational reorganizations and cost reductions, financial department restructurings, strategic repositioning and divestitures. His experience includes telecom and high technology, manufacturing, financial services and oil and gas. Prior to joining AlixPartners in 2002, Dubel ran his own turnaround firm and served as chief restructuring officer at CellNet Data Systems Inc.
Both executives will report to WorldCom Chief Executive John Sidgmore, who expects the company to emerge intact from bankruptcy in about nine to 12 months. The appointments are subject to bankruptcy court approval.
WIRELESS CUSTOMERS TO BE TRANSFERRED
WorldCom said it will transfer its wireless customers to AT&T Wireless Services Inc., Verizon Wireless, Alltel Corp. and a fourth carrier it declined to name. Cingular Wireless was not part of the agreement, WorldCom said.
Clinton, Mississippi-based WorldCom last month said it planned to exit the wireless telephone business. The unit, which resells services from the top two wireless carriers in each market under its own brand name, generates about $1 billion in revenue.
WorldCom said that while it received a negligible amount of money for its customers, the closing of the unprofitable unit will save $700 million a year. It forged the agreements before filing for bankruptcy, so the pacts are not subject to scrutiny by the bankruptcy court. The company also aims to sell assets in Latin America and Japan.