DENVER -- Qwest Communications International Inc. submitted a revised offer yesterday for long-distance company MCI Inc., increasing its bid to $9.74 billion in cash and stock, more than $2 billion higher than the buyout deal MCI accepted from Verizon Communications Inc.
Qwest's latest offer of $30 per share injects fresh uncertainty into a deal in which MCI directors -- who have twice embraced Verizon over Qwest -- could now be forced to accept a far higher offer.
The new proposal also includes an additional $1 billion in committed financing to ease concerns about whether the combined company would have the financial resources to compete, Qwest chief executive and chairman Richard Notebaert said in a letter to MCI's board.
The new bid is Qwest's ''best and final offer," Notebaert said.
Verizon has offered $7.5 billion in cash and stock.
An MCI spokesman said the Ashburn, Va.-based company would review the revised offer.
New York-based Verizon and Qwest, two of the nation's biggest telephone companies, have been battling for more than two months to win MCI and its national fiber-optic network and lucrative roster of government and corporate clients.
MCI's board rejected the previous, higher Qwest offers because of concerns about the Denver company's weak financial condition.