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WorldCom plans to appeal EU's block of merger with Sprint

By James Evans, IDG News Service
September 14, 2000 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - WorldCom Inc. will appeal a ruling by the European Commission that blocked the telecommunication giant's $115 billion acquisition of Sprint Corp., a company spokesman confirmed Thursday.
"We intend to appeal on substantive and procedural grounds," said WorldCom spokesman Peter Lucht. "This is not about the Sprint merger, this is about setting the record straight."
Sprint spokesman James Fisher said the company was aware of the Sept. 28 appeal filing deadline, but had no other comment on WorldCom's decision.
WorldCom must file its complaint with the European Union's (EU) Court of First Instance in Luxembourg. The Commission blocked the merger in late June, saying that it would make customers and Internet service providers reliant on the new company for Internet access capabilities.
At the time, European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said the commission found that the merger "would have led to the creation of a company with a dominant position over the provision of global Internet backbone services."
Similarly, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) didn't take kindly to the merger proposal. DOJ officials filed suit in July, charging the merger would reduce competition and prompt higher prices for millions of businesses and consumers. Soon after, WorldCom and Sprint announced that their merger was off.
Fisher on Thursday said that the Westwood, Kan.-based telecommunications company still wasn't for sale and wasn't seeking a suitor. In June, Deutsche Telekom AG in Germany was rumored to be developing a $100 billion package to grab Sprint. Deutsche Telekom later announced plans to buy VoiceStream Wireless Corp. in Bellevue, Wash., for an estimated $50 billion. That deal is undergoing U.S. regulatory scrutiny.

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Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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