BERNIE'S DEAL

WORLDCOM MAKES A BOLD $30 BILLION STOCK OFFER FOR MCI IN WHAT COULD BE THE BIGGEST TAKEOVER EVER AND ESTABLISH THE UPSTART AS A RIVAL TO AT&T

When asked by TIME last month whether he had any new deals up his sleeve, the voraciously acquisitive Bernard Ebbers, CEO of WorldCom, shot back, "Are we alive?"

Are they ever. Just ask MCI. In a bid that would mark the biggest corporate buyout in U.S. history, the country boy from Canada by way of Mississippi last week offered $30 billion in WorldCom stock for MCI, the country's second largest long-distance carrier and a company four times the size of WorldCom. The bid demolished British Telecommunication's $18.7 billion offer for MCI just as the two phone giants were preparing to seal...