Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) finally sold its coal mining business today, meaning we won't have to distinguish between communications revenues and total revenues anymore - hooray! Financial terms were not disclosed, which means they probably weren't material. Ambre Energy Limited will take on the business, including those pesky environmental cleanup liabilities. Level 3 has had the coal business from the beginning, inherited from Kiewit to provide a bit of cash flow in the early years.
Additionally, faced with a bit of uncertainty over its recent SEC filing in which all those new shares held by Global Crossing's former Singaporean owners were registered for sale, Level 3 called in some air support. Lee Theng Kiat, CEO of ST Telemedia supplied this helpful statement:
"As a significant owner with board of directors' representation, STT Crossing considers Level 3 as a strategic investment in our portfolio. We have confidence in Level 3 and have no current intent to divest our shares in Level 3."
That seemed to have been obvious from their appointments to the board of directors, but Level 3 investors with long memories certainly remember both Leucadia cashing out quickly after the WilTel sale and the great Warren Buffett doing so after stepping in to back the company with converts just after the last bubble. So I guess I can't blame folks for being just a bit jittery when someone registers such a pile of shares.
But those who have watched Global Crossing over the years have seen those same Singaporeans to be very steady long term holders, holding for the long term while other big names like Carlos Slim and Richard Rainwater traded in and out. Given that Global Crossing in 2004-2005 seemed doomed to end in tears, they're in a much more comfortable position nowadays.
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