The planned takeover of MCI by America's largest teleco Verizon Communications was dealt a blow Friday by Qwest - a rival suitor for the hand of MCI, known as WorldCom before it imploded with fraud in 2004.

Qwest chief executive Richard C Notebaert asked MCI's board of directors to reappraise its decision to merge with Verizon. In a letter to MCI Notebaert wrote: "We do intend to submit a modified offer to acquire MCI and we would expect MCI and its advisors to engage us in a meaningful dialog regarding the merits of our offer."

The letter has also been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Qwest would have to pay a $200 million (€152.96m; £105.55m) breakup fee to Verizon if MCI accepts an improved offer

Verizon's $6.7bn bid was accepted by MCI only last week [WAMN: 16-Feb-04].

Data sourced from Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff