WorldCom to lay off 10,000

In advance of tomorrow morning's fourth-quarter financial report from telecommunications carrier WorldCom Inc., a news report said today that the company will announce job cuts of about 10,000.

A WorldCom spokesman said that no official announcement of job cuts had been made. The Dow Jones news service reported that the company is expected to announce plans to cut 10,000 employees from its 77,000-person workforce, in order to restructure the company.

WorldCom announced restructuring plans in November, which included plans to create two publicly-traded tracking stocks. One will measure businesses the company considers high-growth, such as data communications, while the other will reflect the performance of consumer and long-distance services, which face stiffer competition and diminishing margins.

Analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial expect WorldCom to report earnings of US$0.27 per share and revenue of US$9.9 billion for the fourth quarter, $300 million less revenue than the same quarter last year and 35 percent less net income. Analysts have steadily been reducing their estimates for the company as the fares of telecommunications companies -- and the economy in general -- have withered through the winter of financial discontent.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that people familiar with the situation said the company would lay off 10 percent to 15 percent of its workforce. WorldCom Chairman Bernie Ebbers refuted that assertion shortly after in his hometown newspaper, the Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, said Dave Zeliff, a spokesman for WorldCom's UUNet Technologies Inc. division.

WorldCom, in Jackson, Mississippi, can be reached at +1-601-360-8600 or at http://www.wcom.com/.

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