Mexico Billionaire Crushes Qwest offer

Determined to crush Qwest's drive for MCI, Verizon over the weekend agreed to buy a 13.4% stake in MCI from Mexican financier Carlos Slim Helu for $1.1 billion in cash. The New York-based giant left open the possibility that it might be willing to work out arrangements with other big investors, but it was unclear if those deals would be as generous. Slim is MCI's largest shareholder, making his position unique, Verizon said.
Slim is getting $25.72 in cash, upfront, for each of his 43.4 million shares. Verizon also agreed to give him a lump-sum payment for any run-up in MCI's stock price over the next year. Verizon said it would probably take a few weeks to close the deal. Verizon then will be MCI's largest individual shareholder.
Verizon is paying Slim $2.62 a share more than it has agreed to pay for the rest of the company. In a statement, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg acknowledged the difference. But he said that the circumstances were ''unique.'' He added that his company would ''continue to assess the situation'' in the weeks ahead, leaving open the possibility that Verizon might sweeten its overall offer for MCI.

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