The New World Order

With his daring bid for MCI, Bernie Ebbers seeks to build WorldCom into a new kind of telecom empire

If you want a revolution, call a revolutionary. While other phone-company executives huddle with consultants, lawyers, and investment bankers to figure out how they can position their companies in the new world of deregulated telecommunications, Bernard J. Ebbers is at the ramparts. A onetime high school coach who fell into telecom through a lucky investment with some pals in Mississippi, Ebbers is now showing industry veterans what the new era in communications is all about. After a series of deals that took his company, now known as WorldCom Inc., from an idea in a coffee shop to the No. 4 in long-distance, this outsider has proposed a stunning takeover--potentially the largest merger in U.S. history--to produce the first new-era telecom giant.

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