Investcorp announces merger of IWO with US Unwired

Investcorp, the global investment group, entered into a definitive merger combining Independent Wireless One (IWO) with US Unwired, Inc. (UNWR), a Nasdaq-listed company.

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By  Massoud Derhally Published  January 6, 2002

Investcorp, the global investment group, entered into a definitive merger combining Independent Wireless One (IWO) with US Unwired, Inc. (UNWR), a Nasdaq-listed company.

Under the terms of the agreement US Unwired will acquire all of the outstanding shares of IWO Holdings, Inc. and IWO shareholders will receive shares of US Unwired.

Investcorp and its clients acquired IWO, which, as a network partner of Sprint PCS, provides all-digital, all-PCS communications products and services in the Northeastern United States under the Sprint PCS brand name, in late 1999. Under Investcorp’s ownership, IWO has substantially improved its financial performance. This merger will allow IWO to continue to pursue its growth strategy aggressively, launch new markets and broaden its sales distribution network.

Salman Abbasi, General Manager of Investcorp’s office in Bahrain and a member of the Firm’s Management Committee, said, “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of our approximately two-year investment in IWO and we are very excited about the future prospects of the combined US Unwired/IWO. The two companies have highly complementary business models, organizational structures and an unwavering focus on operational performance. Together they will create a larger, more competitive and potentially more valuable company.

“US Unwired/IWO will now be the largest Sprint PCS affiliate in terms of total population and highway miles and a demonstrated consolidator in its sector. The companies’ combined service territory will include 16 million people and cover 220,000 square miles across the southeast and northeastern regions of the United States.

“As important, is that the combining of the two executive ranks will create a strong new management team, highly qualified to execute the combined business plans, pursue and integrate add-on acquisitions, establish credibility on Wall Street and thereby continue to increase shareholder value.”

Consistent with their significant equity interest in US Unwired going forward, IWO’s shareholders, principally Investcorp, will continue to have meaningful representation on the board of directors. Investcorp will hold three of the nine board seats and continue to exert an important influence through its post-acquisition involvement.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2002.

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