RealTime IT News

Telecom Merger Mania Hits Overdrive

Merger mania in the telecom sector went into overdrive on Thursday, with reports that both Qwest and Verizon may be eyeing MCI .

The Wall Street Journal reported that Qwest is in talks to buy MCI for $6.3 billion, while Verizon is in "exploratory talks" with the company, the paper reported.

Late in the day, TheStreet.com reported that Verizon was also kicking the tires at Sprint , as telcos scramble to keep up with the blockbuster merger announced Monday between SBC and AT&T .

Curiously absent from the rumor mill was BellSouth , which could get left behind if its Baby Bell siblings snap up the long-distance giants.

With their local phone dominance and ready customer base, the Bells wreaked havoc when they broke into the long-distance market, all but forcing AT&T and MCI out of the long-distance market and into the enterprise market. Now they appear poised to finish the job.

Stocks fell Thursday after Amazon.com missed earnings estimates and fourth-quarter productivity grew less than expected.

The Nasdaq fell 17 to 2057, the S&P 500 lost 3 to 1189, and the Dow slipped 3 to 10,593. Volume declined to 1.55 billion shares on the NYSE, and rose to 2 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 17-15 on the NYSE, and 18-12 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 59% on the NYSE, and 73% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 249-18 on the NYSE, and 119-49 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, DoubleClick beat estimates, and AskJeeves beat earnings estimates but missed revenue estimates.

During the day, Amazon tumbled 14% on its results, while CNET lost 14% on a warning.

Mercury Interactive and Quest Software surged on their results.

Alcatel and BMC also tumbled on their results.