Cable & Wireless has staked its claim to MCI?s Internet backbone business, which it agreed to buy last month, by taking legal against the possibility of its US partner reneging on the deal.
A spokesperson for the UK telco said: ?We are putting down our marker, given indications there maybe some amendments or addition to the disposal package. We are preempting what could happen.?
The spokesperson was referring to concerns that MCI may be seeking to go back to the drawing board after Karel Van Miert, the EC?s competition commissioner, said the deal with Cable & Wireless did not go far enough to address Internet monopoly issues, raised by MCI's proposed marriage to Worldcom. The EC is concerned that a combined MCI and Worldcom would dominate the World Wide Web.
A MCI spokesperson said he was ?surprised? by Cable & Wireless? actions, and said MCI was having ?productive? meetings with the EC.
C&W claims MCI is planning to reopen negotiations with ?third parties?, with a view to selling them the same package or additional items, such as MCI?s residential and corporate Internet accounts. The spokesperson said it would want to be in the running for such additions. He said: ?We are ready to discuss and are open to offers. If more is on offer we would be interested.?
Analysts believe regulators would prefer Worldcom to sell its most prized asset, the UUNet Internet service provider.
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