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WorldCom, Sprint Defend Deal

May 31, 2000|Bloomberg News

WorldCom Inc. and Sprint Corp. defended their possible combination to European regulators, outlining plans to separate Sprint's Internet unit for a possible sale and dismissing complaints the new company will dominate the market. Executives said the companies' European operations don't overlap and the lack of complaint from European rivals at a closed hearing at the European Union showed the combination shouldn't cause problems for the European market. U.S. rivals complained about the transaction at the hearing. The $140-billion acquisition faces opposition from both EU and U.S. regulators. The EU fears the combined company may control Internet access and dominate the sale of phone services to large companies. The European Union must make a ruling by July 12. Sprint CEO William Esrey said this month that selling Sprint's Internet business is "probably a given" to win regulatory approval. Shares of WorldCom closed up 88 cents at $38.06 on Nasdaq. Sprint rose $2.88 to close at $59.69 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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