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Interest Perks Up In MCI Under New Stock Symbol

MCI's stock began trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market Wednesday, sparking some interest in reevaluating the beleaguered telecommunications firm.

Best known for its consumer long distance telephone operation, MCI has been hinting ever since it emerged from bankruptcy earlier this year that it favors exiting that business. However, there are some parts of MCI that would be attractive to Leucadia, which announced its takeover bid for MCI earlier this week, or another acquirer, according to one telecommunications analyst.

"The real shining star in MCI," said Pete Wilson, president and CEO of Telwares Communications, "is its prowess in the enterprise market. This would appeal to a RBOC (former Regional Bell Operating Company) or to a foreign carrier."

For now, the focus is on Leucadia, the New York-based investment group that has filed for regulatory permission to buy a controlling stake in MCI. Leucadia already controls WilTel Communications, formerly called Williams Communications Group Inc. Other suitors are likely to bid for MCI or for pieces of the company.

Wilson said MCI would be particularly attractive to any of the nation's four RBOCs -- BellSouth, Qwest, SBC, and Verizon.

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