Abovenet emerges from coma

May 16th, 2008 by · 9 Comments

The other day, something remarkable happened: Abovenet filed an annual report (10-K) with the SEC. I know, who cares, right? But this day marks the end of an era, the final curtain has come down on the telecom nuclear winter that began in 2001 in which hundreds of telecom companies went under – from Worldcom on down. All those assets filtered through bankruptcy court into new ownership, occasionally more than once, but one case always stood out. You see, Abovenet used to be known as Metromedia Fiber Networks, or MFN, and the depth of their collapse is legendary, involving a 5 year SEC investigation.

While Abovenet emerged from bankruptcy in 2003, they have struggled for 5 years now to find out where the money went back in 2000-2002. They have not succeeded and have admitted they likely never will, nor have they managed to produce a 10-Q or a 10-K since then, despite being a public company. In fact, Abovenet didn’t have any quarterly or annual reports on file this century which they hadn’t disavowed. All the other rubble from the crash (MCI, GX, WilTel, Genuity, etc) has long been cleaned away or refurbished, but Abovenet was still lying in a coma.

Until today. Ok, they filed their annual report for 2006 – it’s one year and two months late – and their 2007 report is already 2 months late, but it is a major step nonetheless. Abovenet has always had great assets, deep fiber rings in major cities connecting 1400 buildings plus ILEC central offices etc, and even while their finances remained in shambles they have reshaped their business – selling off their datacenters and hosting business to focus on connectivity.

So maybe they’re back, but one can’t shake the feeling that they will be absorbed by a larger entity before long, i.e. by a Level 3, or a TW Telecom, or even Reliance/Flag/Yipes.

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Categories: Metro fiber

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9 Comments So Far

  • It is definitely time for the axe to come down on these guys.

    They certainly have great assets but they seem to have a hard time executing.

  • Vocio says:

    It’s funny none of the financial issues ever make it into the marketing materials. You would think they were a bluechip by their marketing. Same could be said of Savvis. Both proclaim to be leaders in the financial services verticals. Wouldn’t a financial services company or bank know of their poor financial condition?

    From their site: “AboveNet’s network is widely used in demanding markets such as financial services, where the majority of top investment banks, and five of the top 10 U.S. banks rely on AboveNet for mission critical services. AboveNet provides metro access, IP Network, and managed services tailored to solve key IT business issues for its customers, such as regulatory compliance, business continuity, disaster recovery, and security.”

  • I’ve spent years looking at Abovenet… nice to see others are starting to look too.

  • David says:

    These guys are crooks, they stated they were profitable all the way up to BK, this company is a fraud. In order for them to ever get off the pinks they will be made to provide the books, which are no doubt cooked to a crisp. I am shocked that there has never been a class action against them, and I am still trying to find out why the SEC investigated them for 5 years and then just walked away. This smells to high heaven, I think John paid them off, maybe another 40 million dollar donation to the library of congress. He is not a young man and in fact is in his twilight, I wonder if he has thought much about the thousands of investors that this company has defrauded? I should think that this would weigh heavy on someones mind at that age, we will see if the company ends up doing the right thing.

  • Frank Coluccio says:

    These folks did for dark fiber neworking what TCG did for the CAP space, even before Metromedia invested. I.e., when they were still National Fiber Networks. Without such a bold move on NFN’s part, we’d probably still be pointing to Gilder’s Beyond the Fibersphere piece from the December 1992 issue of Forbes ASAP and wondering when somebody would step up to the plate.

  • dan jay says:

    This is the worst company I have ever worked with in the past 10 years. They are outright criminal, and will do anything possible to steal your money. I know dozens of customers who were lied to regarding contracts, billed without service; they have no rational billing department and the majority of their salesforce are liars. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THEM. They are extremely arrogant. Abovenet sold off their data center space to Digital Realty Trust without any prior warning and gave 30 days to leave to their clients, effectively evicting hundreds of network providers out of their New York location who had no where to go causing companies unimaginable financial damage. They knew good and well Digital Realty would have no use for them and didn’t care what happened to their customers. They consider customers worthless unless you bill at least over $50000 per month with them.

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