Analysts believe the bidding for MCI at this point is pretty much a two-way affair between GTE and WorldCom, which has offered $30 billion in stock, and say that British Telecom has moved to the sidelines.
BT, which made its own cash and stock offer for the American long-distance firm in November 1996 (and cut the offered price to $21 billion in August), owns a 20 percent stake in MCI. Indeed, BT may now be thinking like a stakeholder.
By all appearances, GTE's deal — the biggest such bid in corporate history — is the best, since its offer is in cold cash. If GTE and MCI do merge, however, the deal will face major U.S. regulatory hurdles, and the companies may have to sell off some operations to make it official.