US West Inc., which provides local phone services in 14 western states, said it had completed a tender offer for a 9.5 percent stake in communications company Global Crossing Ltd.
The tender--part of a deal by US West and Global Crossing to merge--firms the two companies' ties and could make it more difficult for Qwest Communications International Inc. to succeed in a rival bid it has made for US West.
Qwest, the No. 4 long-distance carrier, made an unsolicited offer last Sunday for US West and No. 5 long-distance company Frontier Corp. in an effort to thwart bids by Global Crossing.
US West said 240.4 million Global Crossing shares were tendered in the $62.75-a-share cash offer, which expired at midnight Friday, though US West will purchase only about 39.3 million. The Denver-based company expects to send payment for the shares beginning Wednesday.
Though Qwest, also based in Denver, originally offered a 25 percent premium to the Global Crossing agreement for US West, its shares have fallen about 15 percent since Sunday, lowering the value of its offer. Qwest chief executive Joseph Nacchio spent the week meeting with institutional investors to rally support for his plan.
US West would have to pay an $850 million breakup fee if it backed out of the Global Crossing merger. Even so, several large US West shareholders said that they would prefer Qwest's offer because the company is larger and has been around longer than Global Crossing. Qwest's stock, they said, is a more stable currency.