MCI WorldCom Agrees to Acquire SkyTel for $1.3 Billion

Author:
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As

reported earlier,

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

announced plans to acquire paging company

SkyTel Communications

(SKYT)

in a $1.3 billion stock deal. Not so surprising, given the extant rumors about a possible link-up between the two Jackson, Miss., telecom players.

But pretty darn surprising given what happened Tuesday, when the Web site

Company Sleuth

reported that MCI WorldCom had registered the Internet domain name "skytelworldcom.com" May 22. Seemed like rather compelling evidence of a pending tie-up, but MCI WorldCom said the registration was "not an indication of any official company intention" and was done by an employee acting on his own initiative.

Given the way things turned out, there are a few possible scenarios here:

MCI WorldCom was telling the truth, but after seeing the way "skytelworldcom.com" looked, it decided to do a couple of days of due diligence and buy SkyTel.

The employee acting on his own initiative was MCI WorldCom Chairman Bernie Ebbers.

MCI WorldCom was ... let's say, shading the truth.

We'll let you know which of those turns out to be the right answer. As for the stocks, MCI WorldCom today closed up 1 3/8 at 86 3/8 but reportedly dipped 1 1/8 to 85 1/4 in after-hours trading on the news. SkyTel picked up 1 to 20 5/16 in the regular session.

--

John J. Edwards III

In other postclose news:

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

announced plans to buy privately held

Obsidian

for 2.5 million shares, or around $137.5 million.

Offerings and stock actions

Advent Software

(ADVS)

filed a shelf registration with regulators to sell up to 1.1 million shares.

Cutter & Buck

(CBUK)

set a 3-for-2 stock split.

HomeStore.com

(HOMS:Nasdaq), which provides real estate destinations on the Internet, filed for a $100 million IPO.

Miscellany

World Access

(WAXS)

said President and CEO John D. Phillips was elected chairman and will replace Steven Odom.