Final closure of the transaction, which the companies anticipate will occur later this year or early in 2006, is subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission.
International approvals are already complete, as are the majority of necessary state-level regulatory reviews.
"We appreciate the hard work of the Department of Justice staff in bringing this merger to resolution," said John Thorne, Verizon senior vice president and deputy general counsel. "The consent decree will result in no disruption to MCI customers. We are eager to begin offering the benefits of this new combination to customers as soon as possible."
Paul Eskildsen, MCI senior vice president and deputy general counsel, said, "MCI is pleased with today’s clearance by the Department of Justice of its merger with Verizon. This development represents another significant milestone in the regulatory approval process."
The DOJ filed a consent decree for approval by a Federal court that includes stipulations agreed to by Verizon and MCI. Under the decree, Verizon and MCI will lease dark (unused) fiber connections to 356 buildings in several states in the Verizon footprint on the East Coast.
Fiber currently being used by MCI to serve its customers will not be affected.
The consent decree follows an eight-month, comprehensive study by the DOJ staff of every aspect of the Verizon-MCI merger. Verizon, MCI and other parties supplied millions of documents and volumes of market data to the DOJ staff. "We proved that the transaction is pro-competitive and will not lessen competition in any market," Thorne emphasized.
The Verizon-MCI combination, part of the continuing evolution of the industry driven by customers and technology, will capitalize on the complementary strengths of each company and create one of the world’s leading providers of communications services.
The merger will enable Verizon to better compete for and serve large-business and government customers with a full range of services, including wireless and sophisticated Internet protocol-based services.
It will benefit consumers and businesses by creating a supplier with the financial strength to maintain and improve MCI’s extensive Internet backbone network.
The Verizon-MCI combination was announced on February 14, 2005.