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Report: Facing $6B Deficit, Avaya Weighing Bankruptcy Options

MLS: Chicago Fire at San Jose Earthquakes Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

According to a Wednesday report from the Wall Street Journal, Avaya, the official stadium naming rights partner of the Earthquakes, is weighing its options of filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy to slash the company’s $6 billion debt load.

From the Journal’s report:

The stadium, which played host to this year’s MLS All Star Game, is one of the league’s crown jewels. It’s the MLS’ first cloud-enabled stadium, the steepest-ranked seats in the league and the largest outdoor bar in North America, housed in a two-acre fan zone.

Avaya, which began as part of telecommunications giant AT&T, sells phones and other call equipment to large corporations, in addition to the hardware and software used in call centers around the world that companies use to communicate with retail clients. The company’s has fallen in each year since the financial crisis, which highly impacted corporate spending.

Avaya hasn’t posted an annual profit since its 2007 buyout by investment firms TPG and Silver Lake for $8 billion. A bankruptcy filing would likely lead to heavy losses for the investment partners, given that equity holders fall behind in line to creditors during bankruptcy procedures.

According to an earlier report, Avaya have struggled to compete with established rivals such as Cisco Systems and other business-phone companies — in 2012, Global Response, a company that operates call centers for others such as Toyota and Urban Outfitters, switched to Cisco from then Avaya-owned Nortel Networks. According to the report, Avaya lost Global Response as a client after they failed to provide the sort of discount they were looking to accompany an equipment upgrade the same year.

In order to simply maintain the current position the company is in, Avaya would be required “to constantly reinvest in new products and platforms,” Moody’s Investor Services said in August.

In May, Avaya said it had contracted the services of Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners to explore its options, including a sale or transaction to refill its capital structure.

How, if it all, this will impact the Earthquakes’ agreement with Avaya as its stadium naming partner remains unknown.

The San Jose Earthquakes declined to provide comment for this story when approached Wednesday.