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WorldCom, Sprint officially cancel merger
Posted: 13-Jul-2000 [Source: Bloomberg]

[WorldCom and Sprint blame US regulators for the failure to reach a merger.]

Clinton, Mississippi -- "WorldCom Inc. and Sprint Corp. canceled their $152 billion combination after U.S. and European regulators opposed it on grounds that it would reduce telecommunications competition.

"The U.S. Justice Department sued last month to block WorldCom's purchase of Sprint. The companies withdrew a separate merger application with the European Union after Mario Monti, the group's top antitrust enforcer, opposed the accord announced in October. There will be no breakup fees, the companies said.

"WorldCom Chief Executive Bernard Ebbers built the No. 2 U.S. long-distance phone company with 75 acquisitions before this one failed. Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. long-distance provider, and WorldCom may be takeover targets now by international companies such as Deutsche Telekom AG, analysts and investors have said.

"While we disagree with the conclusions reached by the Justice Department on the competitive impact of the merger, litigation of those conclusions in federal court is not a realistic alternative," Sprint Chief Executive William Esrey said in a statement. Such a trial wouldn't have started before January 2001, according to the Justice Department, Esrey said.

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