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Motorola Ups Offer for Next Level

March 25, 2003|From Times Wire Services

Wireless phone giant Motorola Inc. on Monday raised its buyout offer to about $34 million for the shares of Next Level Communications Inc. it doesn't already own.

The move comes four days after the mobile phone maker -- frustrated by a lack of progress on the deal -- said it was prepared to walk away.

Motorola, which already owns 74% of Next Level, increased its bid to $1.18 a share from $1.04, adding 13% to the offer.

The new bid includes a 26% premium over Next Level's closing share price Friday. Investors have until April 11 to decide whether to tender their shares.

Next Level, a Rohnert Park, Calif., company whose technology allows telephone lines to transmit video and data services at high speeds, has suffered from the telecom spending slowdown.

Next Level's shares surged 24% in trading Monday on Nasdaq, up 23 cents to $1.17. Motorola, based in Schaumburg, Ill., saw its shares slip 2.6%, or 22 cents, to $8.28 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Next Level fought the original $30-million offer, but company officials said Monday that the new bid is the best alternative.

"We believe that given Next Level's current financial situation and an absence of present acceptable financing alternatives, the revised offer represents the best value available for the Next Level minority stockholders," said Alex Good and Paul Latchford, members of Next Level's independent committee.

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