Wirless data and messaging companies

WebLink Wireless

(WLNK)

and

Metrocall

(MCLLC)

signed an agreement to merge in a deal that will be solidified after both companies file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a move designed to split the equity of the combined concern equally between the current shareholders of each firm.

TheStreet Recommends

WebLink and Metrocall expect to begin their bankruptcy proceedings by May 15. The plans of reorganization will disclose in greater detail the treatment of the debt and equity holders of each company. The merger requires the companies to receive adequate financing, the approval by each company's creditors, the bankruptcy court and certain state and federal regulators.

The merged company will be named WebLink Wireless and will maintain corporate headquarters in Alexandria, Va., where Metrocall is based. The new corporation will have significant operations in both Dallas, where WebLink Wireless is located, and Alexandria.

The combined company expects to have more than 8 million subscribers and about $700 million in revenue. The companies plan to close the merger by the fourth quarter of 2001.

John D. Beletic, the chairman and chief executive of WebLink, will serve as chairman of the combined company. William L. Collins, Metrocall's chairman and CEO, will be named vice chairman and CEO of the company. N. Ross Buckenham, the president of WebLink, will be president of the combined company. Steven D. Jacoby, the chief operating officer of Metrocall, and Vincent D. Kelly, Metrocall's financial chief, will hold the same posts with the merged company.

The

Nasdaq

halted trading in both companies after the deal was announced. WebLink last traded at 9 cents, down 4 cents on the day, while Metrocall fell 3 cents to 22 cents.