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LOOKS LIKE THE BATTLE FOR MCI WILL CONTINUE

Four major MCI shareholders criticized the company's board Wednesday for favoring a $7.5 billion takeover by Verizon over a high-priced offer from Qwest, raising the likelihood that the biggest telecom bidding war in six years will continue.

The shareholders, who hold about 12 percent of MCI's shares outstanding, were mulling their next step, voicing frustration that MCI Inc.'s board has repeatedly chosen to leave money on the table by rejecting Qwest's overtures.

Qwest Communications International's latest bid, $8.9 billion, is worth 20 percent more than the sweetened deal MCI reached with Verizon Communications last week.

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