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Windstream Wants More Time to Prepare for Chapter 11 Exit

Stopwatch

It could be several more months before Windstream submits its reorganization plan and is able to emerge from chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The telecommunications company, which filed for chapter 11 in February, is asking a federal bankruptcy court in New York to give it more time to file its reorganization plan. Windstream said it needs until Aug. 25, 2020, to complete its restructuring plan and exit bankruptcy.

A hearing on Windstream’s motion is scheduled for Dec. 18 before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain.

In the filing, Windstream said it has been working toward “as swift an exit from chapter 11 as possible under the circumstances,” and intends to continue this effort.

Windstream's Tony Thomas

Windstream’s Tony Thomas

“Despite this significant progress toward a successful restructuring, given the size and complexity of these chapter 11 cases, work remains,” it said. “Among other things, the debtors continue to focus on prosecuting estate claims and causes of action related to the Uniti arrangement, evaluating and making decisions regarding the assumption or rejection of executory contracts and leases, and pursuing terms of the debtors’ financial restructuring that will ultimately be embodied in a chapter 11 plan, all with the ultimate goal of a value maximizing confirmation process and the debtors’ timely and efficient emergence from chapter 11.”

Last month, Tony Thomas. Windstream’s president and CEO, said his company continues to work to modify its arrangement with Uniti, a publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) consisting of network assets that Windstream divested in 2015. Windstream pays Uniti about $650 million annually to use Uniti’s network.

Due to time spent investigating, mediating and litigating issues surrounding the Uniti arrangement, additional time is needed to facilitate further plan discussions, Windstream said in its filing.

“Indeed, the litigation against Uniti is a gating item in these chapter 11 cases that must be resolved in order for the debtors to formulate a go-forward business model and file a viable chapter 11 plan,” it said. “The trial between the debtors and Uniti is set for the week of March 2, 2020. The outcome of that litigation will lead to a determination of the true nature of the Uniti arrangement, which is critical to the formulation of a chapter 11 plan.”

This is the second extension Windstream has requested since filing for Chapter 11.

In other Windstream news, the company has launched its next-generation home internet protection bundle, Kinetic Secure, which will be available for national agents to sell. These new products provide additional functionality like parental controls and mobile device management integrated with Kinetic’s new managed Wi-Fi service.

Joe Johnson, vice president of Kinetic product development and management, tells Channel Partners that Kinetic Secure provides “best-in-class coverage and functionality not readily available in the marketplace and could be considered advantageous due to its value.”

“Few of our competitors have an all-inclusive suite of gateway security, identity theft and premium technical support to the degree and price found in our Kinetic Secure packs,” he said.

This expansion involves a major investment in a new partnership with F-Secure.

“F-Secure is incredibly proud to be working with Windstream, to be part of their drive to secure their customers’ homes and digital lives,” said Steve Taylor, vice president of F-Secure’s operator business. “The Kinetic Secure offer protects families from online threats and websites, while making it easy to ensure kids are surfing the web safely on any device, anywhere.”


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