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Verizon has given permission for its fiance, MCI, to talk to rival suitor Qwest. But only until the end of the month.

To recap on progress so far: Verizon offered $6.7bn for MCI which MCI joyfully accepted. But Qwest gatecrashed the engagement party and offered $8bn to buy MCI.

MCI rejected this offer and said it couldn't even discuss it because its heart already belonged to Verizon. Qwest took this rejection badly but did find an extra $450m to add to its offer.

Verizon and MCI signed a pre-nuptial agreement on Valentine's Day which prevented MCI from talking to anyone else.

Yesterday Verizon gave MCI permission to continue talking to Qwest until 28 March. It is confident that MCI will again reject Qwest despite the higher headline figure.

You can read the Verizon letter here.®

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