Lets face it, this company isn't going down fast. In fact, one of the hidden strengths of WorldCom Inc. is that it's got a treasure chest of trading names, thanks to its past acquisition binge. When the name of WorldCom got a little tarnished, it reached into its wardrobe and pulled out the old MCI vestments (hardly worn!)
Now, perhaps, it's time for another change of garb. UUnet had a stylish look, didn't it? That should keep things going for a little bit longer.
Just to recap, WorldCom, or MCI, or... whatever, is currently under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) has been campaigning for its liquidation.
In the latest development, AT&T has charged MCI with dirty dealings over “least-cost routing,” or shopping for the lowest charges from the terminating carrier. Although least-cost routing is common practice in the industry, MCI went about it in a way that unfairly landed AT&T with massive bills, according to Poor Old Ma Bell. "We're talking about the difference between shopping for bargains and shopping with somebody else's credit card,” says AT&T chief counsel James Cicconi.
The upshot was that on July 31, the U.S. government halted any further business with MCI until it had investigated its business practices. Since then, the two largest U.S long-distance carriers have been at each other's throats (see Government Bans MCI, MCI Hires New General Counsel, AT&T Replies to MCI's Reply, MCI Hits Back at AT&T).
So what's the impact on the Big Question of whether MCI should be liquidated or resuscitated?
As it happens Light Reading's Research Poll provides some insight into what the industry thinks should happen. So far, it's been taken by 243 people, and, on balance, it's bad news for MCI:
Who would benefit, on balance, from MCI being liquidated?
- MCI's competitors (88 percent of respondents)
- The reputation of the U.S. legal system (65 percent)
- Investor confidence in the telecom industry (62 percent)
- The telecom industry as a whole (58 percent)
- The financial community (57 percent)
- MCI staff (80 percent of respondents)
- MCI customers (66 percent)
- Equipment vendors (60 percent)
- MCI shareholders (58 percent)
- U.S. Government (51 percent)
To take the poll yourself and see the latest results, Click Here.
— Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Boardwatch