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MCI Board Gets Nod

Shareholders fail to rally to the Qwest side.
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shareholders passed on a chance to protest the long-distance telco's merger with



, handing another setback to spurned suitor




MCI holders re-elected the company's board with about 70% of shares voting in favor, according to news reports. The results suggest that the latest effort by some big MCI holders to stir up opposition to the $8.4 billion Verizon deal had little effect.

Verizon agreed in February to buy MCI for $6.7 billion in stock and cash. The New York telco subsequently increased its offer twice under pressure from bigger proposals from rival Qwest and the complaints of restive MCI shareholders.

Big MCI investors including Leon Cooperman had pledged to withhold their support of the deal, saying MCI should take another look at an oft-rejected linkup with Qwest. Qwest dropped out of the bidding for MCI after repeated snubs but left open the prospect of re-entering the bidding if enough shareholders signaled they would support a new proposal.

On Monday, Qwest rose 2 cents to $3.62, Verizon added 19 cents to $34.28 and MCI rose 3 cents to $25.43.