The bidding war for the US long-distance phone company MCI has taken an expensive turn.MCI did look set to be bought by Verizon communications, but rival Qwest has just raised its takeover offer to 6.3 billion euros. That is 1.3 billion more than Verizon is offering. MCI’s board earlier said it had chosen to accept the Verizon bid because of its superior financial position and better growth potential. But shareholders who own 26% of MCI’s stock have objected and are pressuring MCI to seek a higher offer. Qwest is trying to take advantage of that. This is the second time in three weeks that it has sweetened its bid for MCI, and may spark a higher bid from Verizon. A Verizon spokesman said it remains convinced its bid is superior and has again questioned Qwest’s finances pointing out it has nearly 13 billion euros worth of debt and weak cash flow. Qwest and Verizon both want MCI as a way to break into the market for telecommunications services to large US corporations.
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