Like the Scottish hero king Robert the Bruce, US phone company Qwest Communications is ready to try, try and try again.

The Denver-headquartered firm has presented yet another offer to long distance carrier MCI in a bid to torpedo a takeover deal it has already made with telecoms giant Verizon.

Qwest's latest offer contains an increased cash element and has boosted the overall proposal to $8.45 billion (€6.29bn, £4.38bn). Verizon's offer, accepted by MCI last month, was $6.75bn.

Executives at MCI - formerly Worldcom until its fraud implosion last year - were due to meet their Qwest counterparts on Wednesday (March 16).

Qwest has a troublesome $17bn debt burden, one of the factors that persuaded MCI's board to reject its initial offer in favour of the lower one from Verizon. But it agreed to consider Qwest's revised approaches following pressure from shareholders.

Verizon has declined to comment on whether it will raise its own bid. Analysts are expecting it to return to the table with a higher offer next week, but it is still likely to remain lower than Qwest's.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff