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Iridium asks shareholders to cut stakes by 40 per cent

Move to allow bondholders to convert debt bonds to equity

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Iridium, the all-but-bankrupt satellite-based mobile phone service, has demanded its shareholders take a 40 per cent cut in the value of their stakes in the company, according to a report in today's Financial Times. The move is the latest stage in Iridium's convoluted restructure. Iridium currently has bonds valued at $1.45 billion in total. A $90 million interest payment is due on that debt, but Iridium now wants to convert the bonds into equity, giving bondholders a combined 25 per cent stake in the company. That will clearly devalue existing shareholders' stakes, so CEO John Richardson is asking them if they mind, according to the FT report. Given Iridium has already filed for Chapter 11 protection, it's clear the company isn't long for this world, unless it can make the restructure work and clear its debt. That may well be sufficient incentive for company shareholders to side -- albeit unwillingly -- with Richardson on this one. ® See also Iridium defaults on debt Iridium crisis nears Motorola demands help keeping Iridium in orbit

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