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VERIZON MUM ON MCI DEAL

There was no word Friday from Verizon Communications with a deadline looming to decide whether to pay more to buy MCI Inc. before the long-distance phone company switches allegiances to Qwest and a higher-priced bid of $9.75 billion.

Verizon, though widely expected to boost its offer rather than quit the three-month bidding war, could ignore the midnight deadline, which was triggered by MCI's decision last weekend to declare the rival bid superior.

Verizon declined comment Friday as to whether any announcements were impending. MCI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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