Cerberus to buy Cingular Interactive

Cerberus Capital Management, the US turnaround specialist, has agreed to buy the Blackberry network from Cingular Wireless, the second largest wireless provider in the US.

New York-based turnaround specialist Cerberus Capital Management has agreed to buy the Cingular Interactive unit from Cingular Wireless, the second largest mobile service provider in the US.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cingular Interactive, based in Woodbridge, New Jersey, supports approximately 25 percent of all Blackberry users worldwide, including 400 of the US’s Fortune 1000 companies.

The sale includes Cingular Interactive’s Mobitex network, which carries only data traffic and provides wireless corporate e-mail and messaging solutions, as well as a majority of Cingular Interactive’s current customer base, according to a press release. Cingular Wireless will retain all direct e-mail customers, as well as several other major accounts, and will continue to purchase data services from Cingular Interactive for its Mobitex-based corporate email, IMPlus and certain other data customers.

Cingular is jointly owned by traditional phone service providers SBC Communications and BellSouth, which have been under pressure to make up for the loss of funds in their landline businesses. In addition, the company is also in the middle of its $47 billion purchase of rival mobile service provider AT&T Wireless.

Law firm Schulte Roth & Zabel advised Cerberus in the transaction.

Cerberus, which also has investments in Teleglobe International Holdings and MCI, currently manages more than $14 billion in capital. Most recently in August, Cerberus took part in a $1.2 billion acquisition of US department store chain Mervyn’s, led by Sun Capital Partners and including Lubert Adler and Klaff Partners.