To a telecom journalist the MCI takeover saga is like Monica Lewinski was to late night comedians… the story that keeps on giving. If you think about it, you could replace Verizon and Qwest with actors in a soap opera fighting over a woman and the story would play out similarly. The rich and handsome lead asks the girl to marry him and the less well-off friend gets jealous and tells the girl he loves her. The saga thus begins… Who will get the girl?
This is exactly what I thought of when I read (free registration required) that MCI and Qwest have reopened merger talks after Qwest’s bid went up to 9 billion dollars. Remember that Verizon has offered $7.6 billion and that offer was accepted.
Shares of MCI gained 28 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $25.18 in morning trade on Nasdaq. Shares of Qwest fell 5 cents, or 1.35 percent, to $3.65, and Verizon gained 8 cents to $35.58, both on the New York Stock Exchange.
Will the handsome and rich suitor get the girl or the hard-working kid that has potential but is still in debt? In a marriage many would say the girl is probably better off with the long-term stability. But many shareholders may be more short term oriented and looking to bail as soon as the honeymoon starts.