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Deal marks another move into wireless for telecom giant

No surprise: MCI WorldCom acquires debt-laden Wireless One

In a move expected by financial analysts, MCI WorldCom Inc. announced plans last week to acquire debt-laden Wireless One.

Jackson-based Wireless One, the largest wireless cable operator in the Southeast, has been mired in financial difficulty since the company filed for bankruptcy protection in February and sought to eliminate $327 million of debt.

Under the amended plan, which must be approved by bankruptcy courts and the Federal Communications Commission, Wireless One (NASDAQ: WIRL) will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of MCI WorldCom (NASDAQ: WCOM).

“We are pleased to announce this amended plan to become a part of MCI WorldCom,” said Henry Burkhalter, president and CEO of Wireless One. “MCI WorldCom has the resources to accelerate our strategies to deploy Wireless One’s high-speed two-way wireless data transmission services to businesses in the company’s 11 southeastern states footprint. Our customers, employees, suppliers and channel lessors should all benefit from this association with MCI WorldCom during these exciting and rapidly changing times in the wireless communications industry.”

Wireless One stockholders will receive approximately $22.6 million, or $1.31 per share from MCI WorldCom. On July 20, the day of the announced, proposed acquisition, Wireless One shares were traded at $1.28. As of July 21, Wireless One stock has fluctuated from 33

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