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MetroCall Draws $51 Million for Wireless Expansion

Metrocall Inc. Thursday announced plans to raise more than $51 million from three major investors.

The money will be used in part to expand wireless, high-speed Internet access.

PSINet Inc., Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc., and an unnamed third party are each investing $17 million. As a result of the transaction, each entity owns about 10 percent of Metrocall (MCLL), having acquired 7.8 million shares of stock.

William L. Collins, III, Metrocall president and chief executive officer, said the major investors validate its wireless services offering and the future of business communications.

"These three major investments are an endorsement of our long range strategy in the wireless data and messaging industry as well as a powerful recognition of the value of our 6 million mobile wireless messaging subscribers," Collins said.

Harold S. Wills, PSINet (PSIX) president and chief operating officer, said the Metrocall investment is a large part of PSINet's global wireless strategy.

"The Metrocall relationship is a key component of our strategy to expand PSINet's products and reach into the rapidly growing population of wireless data users worldwide," Wills said.

Michael J. Levitt, Hicks, Muse partner, said the investment reflects confidence in the long-term potential of wireless data and messaging services.

"Going forward, we believe that Metrocall is positioned as the premier participant in its market with the strategic, operational and financial resources to capitalize on its significant growth potential," Levitt said.

Metrocall and its trio of major investors also agreed to establish a joint venture to produce a suite of communication services for small office and home office customers. The service offering includes broadband Internet access, paging, two-way wireless data solutions and e-mail hosting.