Williams Buying CoreExpress’ Core

Broadband provider Williams Communications said it has signed a purchase agreement to buy certain parts of CoreExpress, a Herndon, Va.-based data-services provider.

Terms of the agreement, the financial details of which were not released, call for Williams to buy CoreExpress’ fiber-optic network, intellectual property, and Internet protocol capabilities. Closing on the
agreement is subject to satisfaction of final terms and certain conditions, officials said.

Matt Bross, chief technology officer for Tulsa, Okla.-based Williams Communications, said in a statement, “The CoreExpress network was built on our infrastructure with the most advanced equipment available. And since the assets of CoreExpress utilize compatible network gear, we will be able to seamlessly integrate that equipment into our own network while achieving quicker time-to-market and accelerating the development of advanced IP products by about 18 months.”

CoreExpress was established in August 1999, and offers value-added services that complement the traditional services offered by ISPs. The CoreExpress Extranet provides the industry’s first multi-ISP, site-to-site performance guarantees for data delivery over existing Internet connections.

With the CoreExpress Extranet Viewer service management technology, Williams Communications’ virtual private network (VPN) customers will for the first time have the ability to view and measure performance of their networks, Williams said.

Core Express recently participated in a successful field trial for an unnamed “major news network” to test the multicasting of broadcast-quality video over an IP network. The field test demonstrated that an IP network can be used to reliably exchange live and taped news content among stations affiliated with the news network, officials said. Core Express provided the backbone transport, network monitoring and network integration for the field trial.

Williams Reports Wider Loss

Williams announced the buy at the same time it posted a wider loss for its third quarter. Williams said its net loss came in at $268.3 million or $0.55 a share, compared with a loss of $149.9 million or $0.32 a share in the same quarter last year.

Factoring out one-time losses and gains, Williams pro-forma loss would have been $0.52 a share, better than the Wall Street consensus expectation of a $0.55 per-share loss, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

Third-quarter consolidated revenues were $297.8 million, an increase of $88.5 million or 42 percent, over the third quarter 2000, Williams also said.

“Results for the third quarter not only reflect enhanced operating performance, but also outstanding financial performance,” said Howard Janzen, chairman and chief executive officer of Williams Communications, in a statement. “Even under difficult market conditions, we differentiated ourselves by continuing to drive recurring, top-line network services revenue and margin growth.”

Despite uncertain market conditions, the company projects sequential network services revenue growth of between 10 percent and 20 percent in the fourth quarter. It also expects network EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) to come in at between breakeven and a $10 million loss.

Williams’ Vyvx Broadband Media Unit, meantime, projects full-year revenue of $165 million and is reducing its expected EBITDA loss to between $32 and $34 million from previous guidance of a $39 million loss.

Bob Woods is the managing editor of OpticallyNetworked.com.

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