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Frontier takes "no action" on Qwest bid

Frontier decides it won't act on an unsolicited takeover bid by fellow fiber-optic telecommunications carrier Qwest, at least for now.

Frontier has decided it won't act on an unsolicited takeover bid by fellow fiber-optic telecommunications carrier Qwest Communications International, the company said today.

The move apparently clears the way for fiber-optic cable firm Global Crossing to buy Frontier. The upstart Bermuda-based company offered to acquire Frontier for about $11.2 billion in March.

In a surprise move Sunday, Qwest made its own stock offer for Frontier and local phone company US West, which Global Crossing also intends to buy.

"The current circumstances surrounding the Qwest proposal do not warrant any change at this time in our current initiatives that are designed to move Frontier's transaction with Global Crossing toward a prompt closing," the board of directors said in a statement today.

However, Frontier's board of directors did not entirely rule out eventually accepting Qwest's offer. The board directed management to continue to "monitor events related to the Qwest proposal," the company said.

Qwest responded to today's announcement confident that its bid for Frontier would still prevail.

"We are pleased to note that 'Frontier's board directed management to continue to monitor events related to the Qwest proposal' and are confident our proposal will be determined to be superior and in the best interest of Frontier's shareholders," said Qwest spokesman Mike Tarpey.

"The Qwest board has no plans to meet. Based on the current situation, we have no plan to change our bid. We are comfortable with our bid, and we are positive that as Frontier continues to review our proposal, they will find it superior," he added.

Qwest's stock price immediately plunged more than 20 percent this week following the news of its unsolicited bids.

Frontier said it considered many options in making its decision, including the financial terms and structure of the deal, and current market conditions.

US West has yet to make a decision on Qwest's bid, a source close to the company said. But Frontier's decision to stick with Global Crossing's offer--at least for now--keeps that original deal attractive to the Baby Bell, the source added.

"If Frontier had jumped [to Qwest], that would have dissolved the Global Crossing deal," the source said.

US West's offer to buy 9.5 percent of Global Crossing's stock, announced as part of their original merger deal, will go through as planned tomorrow, sources close to the transaction said. That transaction is valued at about $2.6 billion.