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MCI Gets OK to Sell Net Businesses

From Reuters

A federal judge Friday opened the door for MCI Communications Corp. to sell the bulk of its Internet businesses next week to the highest bidder despite a court challenge, a key move to help MCI complete its planned merger with WorldCom Inc.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson rejected a request from Britain’s Cable & Wireless, which last month agreed to buy MCI’s wholesale Internet business for $625 million, seeking to prevent Washington-based MCI from offering an expanded deal to any other company for 10 days.

Regulators in the U.S. and Europe have held up the $37-billion MCI-WorldCom deal because of fears the merged company would have too much control of the Internet.

MCI’s sale of its wholesale Internet business to Cable & Wireless was intended to mollify those concerns, but regulators subsequently said the divestiture was inadequate.

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Cable & Wireless filed suit against MCI on Wednesday after learning that MCI planned to offer a revised package of assets, including those the British company had agreed to buy, to other bidders.


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