Qwest makes new $9.9B bid for MCI

Qwest once again upped its offer for MCI, this time to almost $10 billion.

Qwest Communications International has made what it called its "best and final offer" to purchase the outstanding shares of MCI for about US$9.9 billion, Qwest said in a statement Thursday.

The new offer raises the cash portion of Qwest's bid by $2.50 per share, to $16 per share, said Richard Notebaert, Qwest's chairman and chief executive officer, in a letter to MCI's board of directors that was released to the press. Qwest maintained its offer of $14 per share in stock and also plans to cover a recent $0.40 per share dividend paid by MCI to stockholders.

Qwest's new offer is about 30 percent higher than the $7.64 billion offer from Verizon Communications Inc. that was accepted by MCI on March 29, Notebaert said.

Qwest set a deadline of 5 p.m. Eastern Time Saturday for MCI to consider its offer.

"We are confident that this revised proposal fulfills the MCI Board's description on April 5 of an offer it was prepared to find a Superior Proposal," Notebaert wrote. MCI rejected a revised $8.9 billion offer from Qwest on April 5.

Verizon had previously signaled that it would not fight Qwest if MCI decided to accept the $8.9 billion offer. But on Thursday, the company spoke of its commitment to closing the deal with MCI.

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

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