Would-be telecom wheeler-dealer IDT ( IDT) has struck out again.

The Newark-based long-distance operator said Tuesday that discussions aimed at lining up a merger with Internet phone carrier ITXC ( ITXC) have ended. The announcement brings to a close IDT's latest effort to expand its Internet business by acquiring distressed assets.

Last month IDT announced an unsolicited all-stock offer to buy ITXC for $1.40 a share, a 15% premium to ITXC's price at the time. ITXC quickly rejected the offer as inadequate and adopted a poison pill intended to dilute a hostile acquirer. IDT dropped the bid May 1, saying it would begin talks with ITXC, but the discussions came to nothing.

Shares in both companies suffered Tuesday. ITXC slipped 11%, falling 21 cents to $1.74, while IDT dropped 20 cents to $15.80.

The disclosure amounts to another setback on the expansion front for IDT, which has affected the pose of an Internet industry consolidator since acquiring the assets of failed telco Winstar at the end of 2001. The company has lined its boardroom with heavy hitters such as former U.S. Rep. Jack Kemp while repeatedly and publicly expressing interest in acquiring fallen giants such as WorldCom, now known as MCI, and Global Crossing. But the company's advances have largely fallen on deaf ears.