Carrier Access Gets Scoffer Offer
Goldman's letter, also sent to Light Reading, says the offer would value the company at $117.64 million. That's quite a bit lower than some earlier reported offers, but not surprising given recent events that have sent Carrier Access's share price down below $3.
Officials at Carrier Access did not return calls for comment this morning.
Carrier Access is trading up $0.31 (11.57%) to $2.99 in early afternoon trading on Friday. This after the stock was deemed, on Wednesday, to be one of "the worst stocks in the world" by the investor Website, Motley Fool.
"We do think $3.40 is a fair preliminary offer for us to make based on the current stock price," Goldman writes in an email to Light Reading. "However, if there are better offers out there, we will certainly have to take another look at our offer after completion of our due diligence."
Goldman says he and his affiliates -- which include two hedge funds -- own 750,000 shares of Carrier Access common stock, about 2.2 percent of the outstanding shares.
In recent weeks, several hedge funds sources have told Light Reading that they're calling frequently and encouraging the management of Carrier Access to find a buyer quickly. (See CACS Update.) They also want the company managers to disclose what offers it has received; Goldman's offer appears to be just such a gambit.
It's easy to see why large shareholders are looking to eke value out of their Carrier Access holdings. The firm's competitive position is weakening, and word came this week that one of Carrier Access's only noteworthy partnerships -- the one with Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) -- hasn't yet produced a working product.
Goldman says the relationship Carrier Access has with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and its technology potential in emerging markets are some reasons to consider Carrier Access more valuable than its current stock price. "Selling the company's wireless assets and IP to a strategic buyer would certainly get priority consideration," he says.
But those watching the tech side of the telecom industry say any technology advantage Carrier Access has in wireless backhaul isn't going to last. "The mobile backhaul market is absolutely a growing market opportunity, but it's also one that's drawing a lot of competition," says Patrick Donegan, Heavy Reading's wireless analyst. "Carrier Access has an existing footprint in the U.S, including with AT&T, but so do a lot of other vendors such as Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN). Then there are a bunch of other vendors drawn to the Ethernet access market that are bringing competition in terms of both product and pricing."
Then there's that issue of the integrated product. Back in 2005, Carrier Access and Tellabs said they would produce a product that "integrates Carrier Access' innovative and patent pending FLEXengine technology with the industry-leading Tellabs 5500 digital cross-connect system..."
So far, the combo effort hasn't given Carrier Access a boost. "We have not yet released a product with Carrier Access," writes a Tellabs spokeswoman in an email reply to Light Reading today.
Since November 2, 2006, Carrier Access shares have lost 59 percent of their value. Its shares haven't cracked the $10 mark since December 2004. Carrier Access has been "exploring strategic alternatives" since its two founders stepped away from their leadership roles back in late July. (See CACS 4 Sale.)
— Phil Harvey, Managing Editor, Light Reading