MCI WorldCom May Purchase Nextel
NEW YORK (AP) _ MCI WorldCom Inc., the nation’s second-biggest long-distance phone company, is in preliminary talks about acquiring wireless phone service provider Nextel Communications Inc., The Wall Street Journal reported today.
The newspaper said the two phone companies have yet to reach agreements on key terms that include price, however, and said some people involved in the talks put the odds that a deal will be reached at no more than 50 percent.
The newspaper cited unidentified people familiar with the matter. It said the companies declined comment.
Calls to both companies this morning were not immediately returned.
Nextel, based in McLean, Va., has been considered a likely takeover target, especially since it will be the last independent U.S. wireless company once the pending $56 billion pact between Airtouch Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC is completed.
MCI WorldCom, which is based in Jackson, Miss., doesn’t own any wireless operations although its biggest rival, AT&T Corp., has a growing wireless businesses.
Nextel has a current stock-market value of nearly $11 billion and long-term debt of $7.7 billion. Its major shareholders include billionaire Craig McCaw, whose family made a major investment in Nextel in 1995 and who together now hold a roughly 20 percent stake.