Qwest makes final offer for MCI

Take it or leave it

Qwest is making a last ditch attempt to acquire MCI after upping its bid to $9.75bn.

This "best and final offer" for a tie-up between US telcos MCI and Qwest is 30 per cent higher that the one made by Verizon and accepted by the company formerly known as WorldCom.

In a letter detailing the latest offer Qwest told MCI: "Additional financing commitments of $1bn, resulting in a total committed financing of $7.25bn, will be delivered to your advisors today. This increase is responsive to the MCI Board's requests for additional liquidity to ensure that the combined company has the financial resources to compete aggressively in the market place and maintain a 'best in class' world-wide network."

Earlier this month press reports suggested that MCI was holding out for an offer of $30 a share. Qwest's latest offer, as it happens, equates to $30 a share. If the "sources" behind that story are right, it might just be enough for MCI to turn its back on Verizon.

In a statement MCI execs said they would "review the revised proposal" and have until teatime on Saturday to decide whether or not to accept Qwest's final offer.

For Verizon, it remains committed to the deal. In a statement it said: "Notwithstanding the latest Qwest proposal, we continue to believe Verizon is the best partner for MCI. As we move through the proxy process, we will continue to assess the situation and intend to take the necessary steps at the appropriate time to secure shareholder approval and complete our pending transaction." ®

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