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MCI breaks silence, directs exploration of takeover bid

MCI broke a week of silence Friday on WorldCom's $29.4 billion takeover offer with its board directing management to seriously explore the bid.

MCI managers will weigh WorldCom's offer, made last week, against a longstanding agreement to be acquired by London-based British Telecommunications."Consistent with its fiduciary responsibility, the board has requested its advisers to analyze further the details of WorldCom's proposal," the board of MCI Communications Corp. said in a brief statement after meeting here.

The board also said it would meet in the next week "to address further the issues raised by the (WorldCom) proposal."

The development is welcome news to WorldCom Inc., based in Jackson, Miss., but it doesn't mean that a deal between the two companies is a foregone conclusion, analysts said. Wall Street views the proposed deal favorably.

As it looks at WorldCom's proposal, MCI will be scrutinizing whether the stock deal will hold its value and whether it will pass muster with regulators. The review is a prerequisite for deciding whether to embark on negotiations.

WorldCom is offering about $9 billion more than British Telecom.