Qwest decided against renewing a takeover bid for MCI, removing any threat to Verizon's $8.44 billion offer for the long-distance phone...

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Qwest decided against renewing a takeover bid for MCI, removing any threat to Verizon’s $8.44 billion offer for the long-distance phone company.

“Qwest does not plan to submit a new offer,” said Bob Toevs, a spokesman for Qwest, the fourth-biggest U.S. local-phone company. Qwest directors met Monday and discussed whether to make a new bid after prompts by MCI shareholders, including Deephaven Capital Management.

The decision clears the way for approval of Verizon’s offer at a shareholder meeting Oct. 6. Qwest withdrew its $9.75 billion offer in May and at the time left open the possibility of bidding again. As recently as last week, Qwest Chief Financial Officer Oren Shaffer said the company was watching Deephaven’s effort to corral MCI shareholders to vote against Verizon’s offer.

“There is no shareholder contingent large enough to do anything to change or reverse this deal before it goes through,” said American Technology Research analyst Albert Lin, who doesn’t own Verizon stock. A move to block the merger would be perceived as “risky and desperate,” he said.

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“We’re looking forward to our shareholder vote on the Verizon merger next week,” said Brad Burns, an MCI spokesman. He declined to elaborate on the Qwest statement.

Verizon spokesman Peter Thonis declined to comment.