Can World Com Sprint To The Finish?

Without concessions, Justice will file suit against the merger

WorldCom Vice-Chairman John W. Sidgmore thought he was joking. "Thank God for Microsoft," he mused during a recent industry conference. "If it weren't for [Bill] Gates, we'd be the most hated company at the Justice Dept." Sidgmore's quip left his audience in stitches, but no one's laughing back at WorldCom's Jackson (Miss.) headquarters. Regulators in both Washington and Europe are threatening to veto the telecommunications giant's proposed $120 billion bid for Sprint Corp. The merger "is a dead man walking," says Legg Mason analyst Scott C. Cleland.

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