Although WorldCom appears to have successfully outmaneuvered the much larger GTE in the race to acquire the United State's second-largest long distance carrier, anything can happen in this brave new world of telecommunications deregulation. Potential barriers include investors, federal regulators and, yes, even GTE. British Telecom, the other player in the three-way bidding war, has apparently cashed out — pocketing nearly $7.5 billion thanks to its 20 percent stake in MCI.
In all, Monday was a pretty good day for WorldCom: The company discovered that it had underestimated its savings from MCI's international business costs by several hundred million dollars. As a result, WorldCom expects to add to its earnings by as much as 20 percent in the first year after the merger takes effect. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice has approved WorldCom's purchase of data networks owned by America Online and CompuServe. That purchase was part of a three-way deal earlier this year in which AOL acquired CompuServe's consumer subscribers.