Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/03/17/qwest_mci_verizon/

'Desperate' Qwest ups bid for MCI

Bidding war continues

By Tim Richardson

Posted in Financial News, 17th March 2005 13:01 GMT

Qwest looks set to cough up more cash in a bid to secure the acquisition of MCI, according to reports from the US. Sources maintain that the US telco has found an extra $550m to snap up MCI.

Although this has yet to be confirmed officially, a statement by Qwest chairman Richard C Notebaert yesterday suggests that the company is about to make another move.

"Our activities over the next 24 hours will demonstrate our commitment to winning MCI," said Notebaert.

"It is unfortunate that some in the process feel MCI shareholders should be deprived of the true value of their asset. MCI is a valuable property and shareholders deserve the present and future value that Qwest is committed to deliver. Historical commentaries serve no purpose as we look to the future of the communications sector and foster competition."

Last month MCI accepted a $6.7bn offer in shares and cash to be bought out by Verizon. But Qwest got the hump after it said MCI ignored its $8bn bid for the telco formerly known as WorldCom.

Since then it's all become very messy and increasingly nasty too.

In a letter yesterday Verizon boss Ivan Seidenberg had a pop at Qwest pointing out that its revenues were down and operating losses were up over the last year. It also finished the year with $17.3bn of debt, "more than twice the market value of the company's stock".

"No wonder there appears to be a desperate quality to Qwest's efforts to acquire MCI," he wrote. Ouch. ®

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