MCI WorldCom offers to buy OzEmail

Voyager's parent company OzEmail is to be the subject of cash offer from US telco MCI WorldCom. The Mississippi-based telecom giant announced yesterday that its wholly-owned subsidiary UUNET Holdings Australia will offer to buy all of the issued ordinary shares of OzEmail for a about $322.8 million. If the offer succeeds, OzEmail would become the Internet 'operating arm' of UUNET Holdings Australia,

Voyager's parent company OzEmail is to be the subject of cash offer from US telco MCI WorldCom

The Mississippi-based telecom giant announced yesterday that its wholly-owned subsidiary UUNET Holdings Australia will offer to buy all of the issued ordinary shares of OzEmail Ltd. for a price of $US2.20 per share. OzEmail has 146.7 million ordinary shares issued, valued at about $322.8 million.

MCI WorldCom has already purchased 14.9% of the Australian ISP or 21.9 million newly issued ordinary shares at $2 per share.

The deal is contingent on several conditions being met including government and regulatory approvals, MCI WorldCom said.

If the offer succeeds, OzEmail would become the Internet "operating arm" of UUNET Holdings Australia, the companies said. The Australian ISP has around 80 POPs (points of presence) in Australia along with Voyager's 15 POPs in New Zealand.

OzEmail is also at the forefront of introducing voice-over-IP (Internet Protocol) to the Australian market. OzEmail Interline, a joint venture with Swiss company Interline and Australian telecoms equipment manufacturer Ideata, signed 'Net telephony pacts with GRIC Communications and Cisco Systems earlier this year.

MCI WorldCom, in Jackson, Mississippi, can be reached at http://www.mciworldcom.com/.

OzEmail, based in Sydney, Australia, can be reached at http://www.ozemail.com/.

Meanwhile, MCI WorldCom will notify about 2,000 employees across the today that they will be laid off as of

Dec. 31, a company official said yesterday. The recently-merged company has about 75,000 employees worldwide.

Most of the jobs will be cut in the telecommunication giant's network operations, where a corporate review of the recently merged company has found duplication, said company spokeswoman Jamie DePeau.

However, MCI WorldCom is also adding employees in fast-growing areas, like Internet, international and data communication operations. Thus, the company's workforce may grow, despite the job cuts announced today.

While the holiday news will sadden the affected employees, all of those being laid off will be given severance packages and job placement assistance, which includes the possibility of landing new jobs with the company, she said.

Before the merger with MCI, WorldCom had been on a buying spree. It acquired 65 companies and, with each of those acquisitions, "there has always been a net job gain" in the company, DePeau said.

The company hopes to continue annual revenue growth of 18%, she said. Two-thirds of that growth has come from Internet operations, with 72%annual growth, international operations, with 55%annual growth and data operations, with 33%, she said.

The job cuts in other areas, primarily network operations, will amount to 2.7% of the overall workforce and will occur in dozens of U.S. locations. Three locations will be most affected. About 300 of 4,500 employees in Richardson, Texas, will lose their jobs, 150 of 2,000 in Cary, North Carolina, and 120 of 3,000 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, DePeau said. Those three sites are network operations locations.

DePeau earlier this week declined to comment on a report published in the Wall Street Journal and citing an unnamed executive saying that the company was going to slash 3,750 jobs in an effort to cut billions of dollars in expenses.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments
[]