Yet another twist in Netbeam case
SUMMIT COUNTY – As Breckenridge’s Netbeam prepares to announce a new product offering – thanks to an infusion of investment from a Front Range company – the Internet company’s bankruptcy proceedings slog on.
A hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Thursday, in which company officials hoped would result in approval of a Chapter 11 reorganization plan, was continued to next month on news that Netbeam had reached yet another tentative agreement with one of the company’s creditors.
The agreement would add more outside control to the company’s board of directors.
Netbeam filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July 2001.
The wireless technology and Internet service provider is asking the judge in the case to approve the sixth draft of a reorganization plan that outlines how the company will repay about $3 million in claims from creditors that include small vendors and service providers, private investors and larger companies such as Qwest and Liberty Satellite Technology.
According to the proposed plan, Netbeam would repay about $255,000 over the next few years.
The reorganization also plans for the merger of Netbeam and Peak Speed Communications, a sister company formed by two of Netbeam’s founders, Greg Friedman and his wife, Judith Mercer-Friedman.
The companies currently exist in a symbiotic relationship, with Netbeam providing a customer base and technology products and Peak Speed providing employees and expanding the services and customer base.
Liberty Satellite Technology (LSAT) will withdraw its objections to approval of the bankruptcy reorganization in exchange for a seat on the board of directors of the merged Netbeam-Peak Speed company, according to court documents.
Similarly, the U.S. Trustee in the case recently withdrew an objection to confirmation of the reorganization – in light of new investment.
RockSolid Broadband, an Aurora-based Internet company, invested $250,000 in Netbeam in exchange for a 30 percent stake in the Netbeam-Peak Speed merger.
The trustee also stipulated that neither Friedman be allowed to sit on the new company’s board of directors.
The developments have come as a surprise to most of the parties in the hearings, including the judge.
The deals were reached in “11th-hour” fashion and announced each time as creditors, company officials and attorneys headed into court expecting to find out whether the reorganization plan would be approved, if an independent trustee would be appointed to manage the company or if Netbeam would be forced into a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding and its assets sold off.
RockSolid executive vice president Robert Bowen, who would become the Netbeam-Peak Speed chief executive, said Thursday that the new agreement with LSAT would not change the company’s plans.
“It’s simply a technicality with the court,” Bowen said. “We’ve got a product announcement to make (tonight), and there’ll be something new and exciting happening with that.”
RockSolid and Peak Speed/Netbeam officers will host a reception tonight at Main Street Station in Breckenridge to announce their new product.
Their next appearance in bankruptcy court is scheduled for
Meanwhile, Comcast cable TV is already offering competing products and services for high-speed Internet access.
Residents in the northern part of Summit County saw their cable channels changed and increased this week, and along with that comes the opportunity for cable-based Internet service.
Peak Speed also is completing a contract awarded by the Summit County Telecommunications Consortium.
The Beanpole Project contract uses state grant money to connect municipal governments, public services such as fire departments and nonprofit organizations to the state’s fiber optic network.
Work on the $456,000 contract was supposed to be completed in May but is now targeted for Jan. 1.
Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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