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Verizon gains edge in MCI acquisition

April 11, 2005 at 10:40 AM

NEW YORK, April 11 (UPI) -- New York-based Verizon Communications Inc. has gained an edge in its campaign to acquire MCI Inc., with the purchase of 13 percent of MCI stock.

Verizon bought the stake held by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu, MCI's largest shareholder, for $25.72 per share during the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The deal will make Verizon MCI's largest single shareholder and again frustrate Qwest Communications International Inc. in its two-month battle for the No. 2 U.S. long-distance company.

Denver-based Qwest has made three bids for MCI, each higher than Verizon's at the time, but all were rejected by MCI's board.

Many large MCI shareholders said they still prefer Qwest's bid, now up to $27.50 a share, a mixture of cash and stock. Some told the newspaper Verizon's transaction with Helu shows MCI's board failed to extract the best possible price from Verizon.

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