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MobiTV bids due on May 7

If you're a company, consortium or individual interested in making a bid for MobiTV, the clock is ticking.

The deadline for all potential bidders is May 7 at 4 p.m. ET, according to a revised bid procedures order filed April 2 that ties into MobiTV's voluntary Chapter 11 filing last month.

Before that deadline, there's also an April 26 date set to designate potential "stalking horse" bids that would be set up in advance and effectively function as a reserve bid that sets the floor price for other bidders. Any objections to the designation of a stalking horse bidder would need to be filed no later than May 3.

If multiple qualified bids are received, May 12 has been set aside for an auction. Any objections to a sale must be filed on or before May 17, with replies due by May 20. If it goes that far, a sale hearing would occur on May 24 at 11 a.m. at the Delaware bankruptcy court hearing the case.

MobiTV noted in its filing that the bidding procedures balance its "interests in emerging expeditiously from these Chapter 11 Cases while preserving the opportunity to attract value-maximizing proposals" that are beneficial to its creditors and other parties of interest.

MobiTV had no further comment on the sale process. Still, the latest batch of bidding date deadlines emerge as the video streaming tech company continues to move through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring. A T-Mobile subsidiary has already agreed to pitch in $15.5 million in debtor-in-possession financing to help MobiTV get through the process.

It's not yet clear who might assemble a bid for the assets of MobiTV, whose platform is still being used by several US cable operators and telcos to help run app-based pay-TV services that, according to MobiTV bankruptcy court filings, support more than 300,000 end users.

But it's abundantly clear that T-Mobile will steer clear of the bidding after announcing last week that it will shut down its "TVision" pay-TV packages, which rely on MobiTV's platform, on April 29. T-Mobile will partner with two virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs): YouTube TV and Philo.

Other key MobiTV partners include the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), an organization that builds programming and tech deals for hundreds of independent cable operators and telcos. The NCTC forged a deal with MobiTV back in 2017 designed to help small and midsized operators migrate to app-based pay-TV services that run on a mix of new video streaming devices.

Cable One, another MobiTV customer, has pushed ahead with the launch of Sparklight TV, a new app-based pay-TV service, in a handful of markets, with more expected to join the mix this month.

While the uncertainty swirling about MobiTV is causing some of its operator partners to explore alternatives, Cable One has yet to flinch. "We continue to believe that Mobi has a good solution in the market and are closely monitoring their Chapter 11 process," a Cable One official recently told Multichannel News.

How much runway does MobiTV have left?

The $15.5 million commitment is expected to be enough to get MobiTV through the Chapter 11 restructuring process. However, recent disclosures made it appear that the company was in jeopardy of not seeing the light of mid-May. MobiTV warned the California Employment Development Department on March 18 that the company "may cease all operations as of May 2, 2021," The Mercury News reported.

But that warning, required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, provided all employees with conditional notice of the possibility for employee termination if MobiTV's restructuring efforts fell short.

"At this time, MobiTV is not planning to cease operations, and we are continuing to operate uninterrupted throughout the Chapter 11 process, with the focus of securing new ownership or investment to emerge as a stronger Company positioned for long-term service and sustainable growth for years to come," MobiTV said in a statement to TV Technology.


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