May 2, 2005
Look, Qwest, it’s one thing to get your butt kicked by a far
superior company, it’s another thing to blame everyone and everything except
your own pitiful condition for losing a fight nobody but you and the guy who
picked Mondale to beat Reagan thought you had a shot of winning.
Qwest dropped out of the bidding war for MCI Inc. on Monday
after MCI agreed to another new deal with Verizon, rejecting a higher-priced
bid from Qwest for the fourth time.
Fourth time! I was turned down by a lot of girls in college
but nobody, nobody had to turn me down four times. Two or three was usually
sufficient for me to get the message.
“It is no longer in the best interests of shareowners,
customers and employees to continue in a process that seems to be permanently
skewed against Qwest,” the Denver-based company groused in a statement. “We
pursued MCI with tenacity and discipline and feel strongly that our bid would
have brought far more value to MCI shareholders.”
Whatever Qwest might have “felt” is irrelevant, since a large
number of MCI’s most important business customers had indicated that they
preferred a transaction between MCI and Verizon rather than a transaction
between MCI and Qwest, according to MCI’s statement, as of course any sentinent
business customer would.
“Additionally, as their contracts come up for renewal,” MCI
said, “a number of customers have also requested rights to terminate their
arrangements with MCI in the event of a Qwest transaction. These customer
concerns, in the board’s view, pose risks in connection with a Qwest
MCI customers had also expressed concern
that Qwest overestimated potential cost savings and possible liabilities from
shareholder suits related to $2.5 billion in overstated sales at Qwest.
Overstating sales is a, uh, crime, Qwest. You wonder why a company’s not crazy
about being taken over by you? Think an orphan’d be excited about getting
adopted into a Mafia family going broke fast?
“Permanently skewed against Qwest…” Let me point out, as
gently as I can and in as sensitive a manner as I can, that Qwest, your company
is gurgling down the toilet while Verizon has nothing but blue skies
ahead. Can’t understand why MCI wanted
to hitch their wagon to Verizon’s Queen Elizabeth II instead of your
Tid-E-Bowl boat of a company holed below the waterline.
Yeah, “permanently skewed against” you the way Julia Roberts
is “permanently skewed against” a skid row bum with vomit on his shoes who’s
trying to give her a gold plastic “wedding ring” he just pried off the neck of
a shampoo bottle. Verizon is the biggest phone company in the United States.
Qwest is the biggest phone company in Wyoming.
A spokesman for Qwest Communications International Inc. said
the decision to retreat was “final.” Inshallah.
Look, it’s one thing to jump in the ring, hopelessly
outclassed, which Qwest did, and put up a decent fight for a few rounds, which
Qwest did, before getting your clock cleaned, which everybody in the world knew
would happen. It’s quite another thing
to then whine and bitch about how unfair and “skewed” it is when you, the
98-pound weakling get your brains beat out by Mike Tyson.
See, Qwest, in case you haven’t noticed, you have $17.5 billion in debt and just $14
billion in annual revenue, and you’re one of the most highly leveraged carriers
in telecom. Your stock price has fluctuated wildly the past year and some
believe it was illegally manipulated this past week just to keep your Quixotic
That’s you. Verizon
is the country’s largest communications company and No. 1 phone company, with
more than $70 billion in annual revenue. It also has a majority stake in
Verizon Wireless, the No. 2 carrier behind Cingular.
That’s Verizon. Can you hear them now? If you need it drawn
in crayon imagine Verizon as Rhett Butler and you as Eddie Munster.
But Qwest “bristled anew” at its latest self-inflicted
rejection. Qwest also dismissed the factually correct negative appraisal of its
financial health and business prospects that MCI’s board used in justifying a
lower-priced deal with Verizon, evidently on the grounds that in Qwest’s
estimation preferring the largest and most stable communications company in
America to a company taking on water faster than the Titanic shows “that MCI is
more interested in bending to Verizon’s will than serving its shareholders.”
I discipline my five-year old son for that kind of whiny
pouting since it’s beneath his age.
Both MCI and New York-based Verizon stressed that their
merger will protect the interests of MCI investors by providing greater comfort
for MCI’s valuable base of corporate customers, which it no doubt will.
Qwest was last seen mumbling about sinister forces arrayed
against it being controlled by radio transmissions from the planet Zeembo,
where flatlining companies flailing about to see who else they can gut and drag
down with them are considered preferable takeover candidates by corporate