You can't keep an acquiring man down. Less than three months after attorneys from the Justice Dept.'s Antitrust Div. nixed his $120 billion deal to buy Sprint, WorldCom Chief Executive Bernard Ebbers is at it again. On Sept. 5, he announced that his company would buy Tampa-based Intermedia Communications for $6 billion in stock and debt.
While peanuts compared with the failed Sprint deal, the purchase of the Web site manager is an important move for Ebbers, who wants to remake his Clinton (Miss.) long-distance phone company into the premier provider of Internet services to businesses. Ebbers likes Intermedia's 55% stake in Digex, a leader in Web hosting.
Ebbers says that WorldCom will now cut to 12 months from 18 months the time it will take to ramp up as a major Web hoster. Although Wall Street applauded the move for Intermedia--whose shares jumped 9%, to 31--the deal didn't win converts for WorldCom. Its stock fell 9%, to $33.75, on fears that earnings would be diluted.