Bankruptcy Judge Approves WorldCom Reorg

Judge approves MCI/Worldcom plan to emerge from bankruptcy.

WASHINGTON—WorldCom Inc., which filed for bankruptcy protection in the aftermath of its mammoth accounting scandal last year, won court approval this afternoon of its corporate reorganization.

Company chairman and CEO Michael Capellas said WorldCom, which has been doing business as MCI, will "drive harder" to win greater market share, particularly in the area of converged computing and telecommunications.

"As we take the final steps necessary to emerge from Chapter 11, we will act with the same outrageous sense of urgency in serving every customer need and delivering innovation as we did in reaching todays confirmation," Capellas said in a prepared statement following the court approval.

WorldCom has gone to great lengths to disassociate itself from its past, establishing a new board of directors and executive team, pinning the blame for the accounting fraud on select individuals and relocating its headquarters.

Three additional board members will be named to the Ashburn, Va., company in the next two to three weeks, Capellas said in a conference call with reporters this evening. The new board will be instated when the company completes its emergence from bankruptcy after the beginning of next year, at which point the companys name will be changed officially to MCI.

Competing carriers have spoken out against the bankruptcy plan, particularly the elimination of debt, which they say will put the company—one time enveloped in massive fraud—at a competitive advantage.

WorldCom will emerge from bankruptcy with a net debt of $3.5 billion, Chief Financial Officer Robert Blakely said.

Capellas dispelled rumors that he will lead a downward spiraling price competition in the industry.

"We are in a particularly brutal pricing environment," he said. "We will not lead a price war. We will protect our territory and we will be competitive."

Capellas ended the conference call with a round of whooping and cheering from his management team.

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