EDS, MCI WorldCom reportedly in joint venture talks

US telecommunications company MCI WorldCom and services provider Electronic Data Systems (EDS) are reportedly in talks to establish a joint venture operation.

The proposed joint venture would aim to offer business customers worldwide a wide range of voice, data and computer services, according to a report cited by the Dow Jones News Service yesterday.

Under the terms of such a deal, EDS would assume management of MCI WorldCom's international billing and information systems, the report said. Such an outsourcing arrangement would result in perhaps thousands of staff at the telecom joining EDS, while other MCI WorldCom employees might face redundancy, the report added.

In an exchange of company businesses, MCI WorldCom could end up dealing with most of EDS' telecoms-related business, while the services provider may purchase and take over most of the teleco's computer systems operations, the report said.

MCI WorldCom confirmed Friday that it would be laying off around 2000 of its US workers as of December 31. Most of the staff cuts are occurring in its network operations where duplications exist the company said following the $US40 billion acquisition of MCI Communications by WorldCom which closed in September.

On Thursday, EDS announced the appointment of a new chairman and chief executive officer -- the former CEO of Cable & Wireless PLC Dick Brown. He is due to take over at EDS on January 15, 1999.

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