What a difference a year can make. Bernard J. Ebbers began 2000 rightfully believing the world was his oyster. By spring he expected to close his $120 billion purchase of rival long-distance carrier Sprint Corp. (FON), transforming WorldCom Inc. (WCOM) into a leading player in both wireless telephone service and the burgeoning market of Internet services. But the deal was nixed by federal antitrust regulators and Ebbers' company has been in a free fall ever since. WorldCom's core long-distance business is plummeting. Its Net strategist, John Sidgmore, may be leaving. And the company's stock is off more than 70% since January, 2000, to around $15 a share.
And the usually self-assured Ebbers? The 59-year-old said recently that he may not even be the best person to run WorldCom.