Qwest Communications International Inc. is reportedly in talks to buy MCI Inc. for $6.3 billion, just days after MCI's chief long-distance rival, AT & T; Corp., agreed to be acquired by SBC Communications Inc. for $16 billion.

Verizon Communications has also held discussions with MCI, but it has not decided whether to bid, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

MCI is attractive for its national network infrastructure and roster of corporate clients. Qwest offers phone service in 14 Western states and is worth about $7.7 billion, but it has about $17.2 billion in debt.

MCI is weighing Qwest's proposal, but a deal is not certain because MCI may hold out for a higher offer from other potential suitors, according to a Reuters story.

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