Qwest VS. Verizon: One More Round For MCI

    May 9, 2005

MCI stockholder are having problems with the Verizon bid to take over the telecommunications company. Several leading shareholders are urging Qwest not to give up the fight quite so easily. With a $1.3 billion in difference between the two bids, this fight isn’t over.

Qwest and Verizon have been fighting this battle for months now in this game of one-upmanship and also for the very survival. If Qwest loses this fight, it may cost them a way as they struggle to compete in an ever merging market but some MCI stockholder are urging member to vote down the Verizon offer. Qwest is the smallest regional phone company.

The battle began back in February when the two companies started going after MCI, the second largest long distance carrier behind AT&T (in the process of being acquired by SBC).

Leon Cooperman, the chairman and chief executive of Omega, a hedge fund that owns about 12 million MCI shares, said in the Wall Street Journal, he told Qwest he was disappointed that the company had dropped out of the running. “I’d welcome them back. I’d be happy to consider giving them my proxy on my shares. I would be shocked if many, many other similarly situated investors would not be willing to do the same thing,” Mr. Cooperman said.

Most people thought this battle was over last week when the MCI board elected to go with Verizon’s offers of $26 a share in cash and stocks instead of Qwest’s offer was $30.

Right now Quest movers and shakers are talking to various stockholders at MCI to see what the chances are this would work for Qwest and the possibility Verizon’s offer get voted down. If stockholders vote down the Verizon bid, it will change the scenario because Qwest will certainly still be in the fight and Verizon may come back with a better deal.

When this war ends is anybody’s bet.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.