has received preliminary bids for its long-distance business that are below the $2 billion to $3 billion it sought, the
Wall Street Journal
The lower-than-expected bids could force the telecommunications company to call off the auction or accept a significant discount, the newspaper reports.
Some parties have valued Qwest's network, which carries long-distance phone and data traffic and provides advanced services for corporate and government customers, at under $1 billion, the
reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
The newspaper reports the most likely buyer for the network is
Level 3 Communications
, which is formulating a potential bid, the people said.
, which is controlled by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, and
also have expressed interest, the people said.
A spokesman for Qwest declined to comment for the
Bids for Qwest's network were due Monday, but the company extended the process, the