Qwest Communications International Inc. said yesterday it plans to make a revised bid for MCI Inc. in an attempt to scuttle Verizon Communications Inc.'s deal to buy the Ashburn-based communications company.
In a letter to MCI's chairman, Qwest chief executive Richard C. Notebaert appealed to MCI's board of directors to reconsider its vote to merge with Verizon.
Qwest chief executive Richard C. Notebaert said MCI's board has not responded to Qwest's $8 billion bid for MCI, which has accepted a $6.75 billion bid from Verizon.
(Neal Ulevich -- Bloomberg News)
"We do intend to submit a modified offer to acquire MCI and we would expect MCI and its advisors to engage us in a meaningful dialog regarding the merits of our offer," Notebaert wrote in a letter dated yesterday and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Late Sunday, MCI's board voted to accept Verizon's bid of $6.75 billion in cash and stock, or $20.75 a share. Qwest, which had been negotiating with MCI since late last year, disclosed Wednesday that its offer at the time was for $8 billion in cash and stock, or $24.60 a share.
After the Verizon acquisition was announced, Qwest executives fielded calls from MCI shareholders expressing interest in a modified bid, Qwest spokesman Tyler Gronbach said. A retooled bid could be submitted in the next several days, he said, but he declined to discuss details.
Under the MCI-Verizon agreement, Qwest would have to pay a $200 million breakup fee if it supplanted Verizon.
MCI and Verizon shareholders are expected to vote on the companies' proposed deal within several months, and regulators must approve the merger.
MCI chairman Nicholas deB. Katzenbach said in an interview yesterday that he had not yet read Notebaert's letter. "We carefully examined both offers," he said. For various financial and strategic reasons, MCI concluded that Verizon's was the better bid, Katzenbach said. He declined to discuss details of the board deliberations.
MCI and Verizon representatives declined to comment on Qwest's letter.
A renewed proposal by Denver-based Qwest -- and the prospect of a bidding war between Qwest and Verizon -- would be welcomed by some MCI shareholders who have expressed unhappiness with the Verizon deal.