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Level 3 sells Vyvx LLC for $129 million
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Level 3 sells Vyvx LLC for $129 million

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Level 3 Communications Inc., the Broomfield, Colo.-based company that acquired Tulsa's WilTel Communications Group LLC in 2005, has sold its Vyvx LLC advertising distribution business for $129 million in cash to DG FastChannel Inc. of Dallas.

The sale of Vyvx includes the transfer of 25 Tulsa-based employees to DG FastChannel, Level 3 officials said.

In addition, DG FastChannel acquired Vyvx's network operations center at One Technology Center in Tulsa, said Chief Financial Officer Omar Choucair. The Tulsa facility will serve as a fully redundant backup operations center to the company's two other network operations centers in Dallas and Atlanta, Choucair said.

In a written statement, Choucair said the Dallas firm has purchased Vyvx's distribution, post production and customer service operations and regional operating offices in New York, Chicago, Delaware, Memphis and Los Angeles

The acquisition includes the transfer of 110 full-time Vyvx employees, including the 25 in Tulsa, to DG FastChannel, which delivers digital media services to the advertising, broadcast and publishing industries via satellite and Internet transmission technologies.

Level 3 has retained ownership of Vyvx and its core broadcast business, including all of the Vyvx Services Broadcast Business' content distribution capabilities, company officials said.

Level 3, an international provider of telecommunications services, has 6,300 employees companywide, including 630 in Tulsa, most of whom were employed by WilTel prior to its $680.5 million acquisition by the Colorado company three years ago.

At the time of the acquisition, WilTel had 1,800 employees worldwide, including 1,200 in Tulsa. Level 3 had 3,100 employees worldwide, including 2,000 at its corporate offices 30 miles northwest of Denver.

Level 3, which had been a competitor of WilTel in the broadband telecommunications market, agreed to pay WilTel's parent company, Leucadia National Corp., $370 million in cash and 115 million newly issued shares of Level 3 common stock for the Tulsa company's assets. The assets did not include the 750,000-square-foot glass-walled One Technology Center, which New York-based Leucadia retained.

Leucadia sold One Technology Center, 100 S. Cincinnati Ave., to the City of Tulsa for $52.25 million in September 2007. The city will use most of the building as a new, consolidated City Hall.

Level 3's sale of the Vyvx advertising distribution business is a reminder of how far the one-time WilTel powerhouse has fallen.

The Tulsa firm began with great promise in April 2001 when parent Williams Cos. Inc. spun off the company — then known as Williams Communications Group Inc. — as an independent broadband telecommunications provider.

At its peak, Williams Communications employed 4,000 people worldwide, including 2,900 in Tulsa.

A year after its initial stock offering, Williams Communications filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, saddled with $7 billion in debt.

D.R. Stewart 581-8451

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