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Global Crossing Files For Chapter 11

Global Crossing , a worldwide voice and data carrier for telecommunications companies around the world, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday morning, officials announced.

Operations will continue as normal, thanks to a $750 million cash investment from two firms, Hutchison Whampoa Limited and Singapore Technologies Telmedia Pte, Ltd., which should go a long way to reassuring its fiber optic customers and investors.

John Legere, Global Crossing chief executive officer, rushed to reassure those individuals with a statement released Monday morning.

"Ours is a balance sheet issue, not an operational one," he said, "Today's actions are intended to directly address this issue. Even with the financial uncertainty we've recently experienced, customers have continued to choose our network over many others. With this restructuring, we'll put financial uncertainty behind us and the power of our network will once again become the primary factor in the minds of our customers."

The bailout comes at a cost for Global Crossing: the $750 million deal gives the two companies equity interest in the company, though how much of a stake they have in the company is uncertain at this time.

Darren Jacobs, director of TFS Telecom, a New York-based telecommunications risk management and brokerage company, said the Chapter 11 filing is symptomatic of the troubles facing all carrier's who provide lines for telcos one that won't be cleared up anytime soon.

"Building assets to be a carrier's carrier continues to prove a non-viable business model at this juncture," he said. "While we have been waiting for the killer application, the dotcom era boomed and busted, and with it the expected demand that every next-generation carrier providing long haul capacity had built in anticipation of.

"Further complicating matters is the issue of the last mile," he continued. "Often times, the cost of the local loop is prohibitive and exceeds the cost of the long-haul. The industry will shake out and consolidate further, eventually lending itself to a smaller number of providers and eventual price stability. The question with no clear answer is when."

Both investing companies already have a deep commitment with Global Crossing, with ties that find its roots in Asia, where Global Crossing has a major stake in the region.

Asia Global Crossing , a parent company spin off that's been trying to merge again with Global Crossing the past year, is a 50 percent shareholder of StarHub Crossing, a network company out of Singapore. Singapore Technologies owns the other 50 percent. Asia Global Crossing owns 50 percent of Hutchinson Global Crossing, a Hong Kong carrier Hutchinson Whampoa owns the other 50 percent.

"We believe this new equity investment from parties as strong as Hutchison Whampoa and Singapore Technologies Telemedia validates our confidence in the strong future of our company," Legere said. "This investment, along with the financial and operational restructuring that we're implementing, will strengthen our balance sheet and enable Global Crossing to build a sustainable business upon its existing unmatched global network.''

Early morning trading on Wall Street showed Global Crossing stock down 41 percent, hovering at 30 cents per share.

Asia Global Crossing distanced itself from the bankruptcy talks this morning.

According to a statement released shortly after the Global Crossing, Asia Global Crossing officials said, "while (we) are not the same company, Global Crossing owns 58.8 percent of the equity in Asia Global Crossing. However, Asia Global Crossing is a separate corporation, with separate stockholders, creditors, employees, network assets and operations."

On a related note, New York Stock Exchange officials told Asia Global Crossing executives they were not in compliance with listing standard, which require all publicly-traded companies to maintain a minimum $1 price per share. The carrier has 60 days to "demonstrate compliance" or be de-listed.

Currently, the stock runs at 60 cents per share and officials have hired Lazard Freres & Co. LLC to help turn their operations around.