Verizon Communications Inc. last month agreed to acquire MCI Inc. in a deal valued at US$6.7 billion, ending weeks of speculation about a likely deal.

Verizon said the acquisition would accelerate its plans to become a significant player in the enterprise services market, giving it a broader reach globally, a suite of advanced Internet Protocol-based services and a large base of business and government customers.

“From a customer perspective, the overwhelming theme is that customers want to have simplified delivery, one-stop shopping and a single point of contact,” said Michael Capellas, president and chief executive officer at MCI. “(The deal) increases customer confidence in everything we do. At the end of the day, there’s no question, our future is brighter together.”

Getting regulatory approval for the deal is likely to take as much as a year, the companies said. Verizon must also win the approval of MCI’s shareholders. The boards of directors at both companies have approved the agreement, they said in a statement. The U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and several state public utilities commissions must also approve the deal.

Verizon will pay US$4.8 billion in shares and US$488 million in cash to buy MCI. MCI will pay its shareowners quarterly and special divi