Nextel: The Happy Loner
Bernard J. Ebbers, the chief executive of long-distance giant MCI WorldCom Inc., has earned a reputation for making shrewd acquisitions over the past decade. But he missed a doozy last year. In May, Ebbers balked at acquiring wireless player Nextel Communications Inc. for about $13 billion. Since then Nextel's shares have more than quadrupled, to 151, thanks to booming demand for its wireless phone services and focus on the lucrative business market. That makes Nextel worth a staggering $55 billion today.
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