MCI shareholders approve Verizon's $8.5B takeover

In another step toward consolidation of the wireless market, over 88 percent of MCI's shareholders approved the $8.5 billion acquisition of the company by Verizon. The move also puts an end to rumors of a last minute revolt from shareholders. Qwest Communication's higher bid was expectedly turned down because of concerns about the company's debt and long-term prospects. The Justice Department and the FCC must still approve the merger before it's official.

Verizon's interest in MCI on the wireless front is threefold: MCI is the second-largest holder of dark fiber; the company has valuable wireless properties, including the Iraq market; and MCI is one of the leading wireless integrators in the industry. Insiders widely expect federal regulators to approve the merger, but conditions, such as requiring the company to unbundle its high-speed Internet from its local phone services, to be met. MCI, formerly WorldCom, only recently emerged from the long slump that followed the 2002 discovery of accounting fraud carried out by former WorldCom executives. The company turned its first profit since emerging from bankruptcy protection last year.

For more on the Verizon, MCI merger:
- scroll through this article from The Washington Post