NYSE Halts Williams Communications Shares, WCG Layoffs Looming - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

NYSE Halts Williams Communications Shares, WCG Layoffs Looming

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The New York Stock Exchange halted trading of shares of Williams Communications Group Inc. on Friday. The shares have had an average closing price of less than $1 for the past 30 days, bringing an internal review by the NYSE to see whether the stock should continue to be listed, company spokeswoman Cheena Pazzo said.

Pazzo said Williams Communications stock sold for 13 cents a share when its trading stopped.

The company may be dropped from the exchange - that would be a significant blow to the prestige of the Company and brokers say it would give investors another reason to avoid the stock.

David Healey, USB PaineWebber Broker: "The main thing on being delisted is that you no longer have the exposure that you had before, you're no longer in the indexes if you were and a lot of institutions, mutual fund managers, can't do over the counter stocks so you move off one of the exchanges to the over the counter market and you just don't get the exposure."

The company announced Monday that it is considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it tries to reorganize finances and reduce its debt load.

Pazzo said Friday no decision had been made and that the company continued to consider all options.

Meanwhile, nearly 3,000 employees at Williams Communications are bracing themselves for another round of layoffs. On Monday, CEO Howard Janzen suggested 25 percent of them could be looking for jobs within the following three weeks. These are highly-skilled, well-paid workers, and unfortunately, many will soon join the ranks of Tulsa's unemployed in a tough market.

The telecommunications giant announced a plan to restructure and cut costs earlier this week. Executives are expected to announce their decision soon on whether to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

If the company files for bankruptcy - stockholders might not lose out. Some companies have gone into bankruptcy - and emerged stronger - and the stock recovered.

That's usually a long time frame - but the more immediate worry is for the employees of the company - some of whom face layoffs - and for people working in related companies.

Williams Communications operates a 33,000-mile fiber-optic network that transmits video, voice and data signals. It has been trying to develop a restructuring plan to placate a bank group that lent the company $975 million.

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