Verizon Communications Inc. completed its $8.5 billion purchase of MCI Inc. on Friday, giving the big local phone company a national fiber-optic network and business-services unit with which to compete with the hefty rival created by the recent takeover of AT & T; Corp. by SBC Communications Inc.

The acquisition of MCI, which required a three-month bidding war against Qwest Communications International Inc., marks the final chapter for a company that brought competition to the long-distance phone business, but was ultimately hobbled by the WorldCom scandal and bankruptcy.

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