HAMILTON, Bermuda, Jan. 29 -- Global Crossing Ltd. has filed for bankruptcy protection as two of its Asian business partners agreed to pay $750 million to assume control of the company as it reorganizes. The company said its worldwide operations will be unaffected by the bankruptcy filing and customers will continue to have service. Employees will be paid without interruption.
If the bankruptcy plan is accepted, Global Crossing's chairman, Gary Winnick, will lose control of the company. Winnick, a former associate of Michael R. Milken, founded the company in Beverly Hills, Calif., in 1997.
Global Crossing has never reported an annual profit since it was created in an ambitious plan to extend its sole resource -- a fiber optic cable traversing the Atlantic Ocean -- into a 100,000-mile network connecting 27 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia. The company has $22.4 billion in assets and $12.4 billion in debt, making its filing the largest bankruptcy by a telecommunications company. It is almost half the size of Enron, the largest bankruptcy filing of any kind in the US.