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Iridium steels itself to decomission satellites

Gains $3m for 11 more days' operation, but the outlook is grim

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Iridium has managed to stumble away from complete collapse once again, this time with a $3 million cash injection from its lenders. That's enough money to keep the moribund cellphones-by-satellite venture in orbit for just eleven more days. If no buyer is found, Iridium will prepare to bring its satellites back to Earth - a clear sign the company will be liquidated. Like a dying patient on a life-support machine, Iridium's time is drawing to a close. It's only real chance of recovery vanished on Friday when Teledesic boss Craig McCaw's investment company, Eagle River, pulled out of a takeover deal. Iridium's backers have been slowly distancing themselves from the company ever since it withdrew behind the US' Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection provision last summer. That said, they do appear to keep coming up with cash to keep Iridium operating for just a few more days, clearly in what must be an increasingly desperate hope that someone will buy it. How long that hope can survive now is open to question, and the grieving relatives may soon be forced to pull the plug. Even Iridium's management seems to have given in to despair. "We're asking for a very small amount of money for the hope - and that's all it is - the hope that we can find another purchaser," Iridium attorney William Perlstein told the US bankruptcy court yesterday. Iridium advisor investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette is even now approaching anyone who has ever expressed an interest in the company to see it they'll pick it up. We suggest the company be auctioned on eBay - at this stage, what else has it got to lose? The congregation will now sing The Hooters' 'I'm gonna buy me a satellite'... ® Related Stories McCaw to buy Iridium assets in 11th Hour change of plan Japanese teclo DDI to close Nippon Iridium Iridium to receive $75m from Teledesic's McCaw Nasdaq de-lists Iridium Iridium shares up for grabs on eBay Iridium to enter Chapter 11

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