Qwest Lifts Bid for MCI

Qwest Communications International Inc. on Thursday raised its bid to acquire MCI Inc. and gave the company previously known as WorldCom until Saturday to declare its offer superior over a rival offer from Verizon Communications Inc.

The bid valued at $9.7 billion in cash and stock is more than $2 billion higher than what Verizon has offered for MCI, The Associated Press reported.

In a letter submitted yesterday to MCI Chairman Nicholas Katzenbach, Qwest Chairman and CEO Richard Notebaert said Qwests offer is approximately 30 percent higher than Verizons bid.

He said MCI had until Saturday to declare Qwests offer a superior proposal or Qwest would withdraw its offer.

MCI said its board of directors will review the revised proposal.

Verizon first announced plans to acquire MCI in mid-February for $6.7 billion in cash and stock, two weeks after SBC Communications Inc. disclosed an agreement to buy AT&T Corp. Verizon later sweetened its offer, which is valued at $7.64 billion.

Notwithstanding the latest Qwest proposal, we continue to believe Verizon is the best partner for MCI, Verizon said in a statement Thursday. 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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