Business & Finance

MCI Inc., the troubled telecommunications giant that emerged from the largest bankruptcy in US history last April, quietly has begun looking for buyers, The New York Times reported. Citing unnamed MCI executives, the Times said investment banks JP Morgan Chase and Lazard, Greenhill & Co., plus Davis Polk & Wardell, a law firm, have been brought on to help find buyers for one of the largest carriers of international voice traffic. But getting a hoped-for $6 billion in a deal could be a stretch, analysts said, given the company's slumping consumer business. For that reason, the Times reported, consideration is being given to selling MCI's more attractive business services unit separately. Once the No. 2 long-distance carrier in the US behind AT&T, MCI was hit by an accounting scandal in 2002 when it was known as WorldCom.

Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, Hyatt, and most other major hotel chains could face walkouts by their unionized employees within days, The Wall Street Journal reported. But it said that while strikes would begin in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, where union locals and management have been negotiating new deals, what is at stake is a strategy that ultimately would put almost all of the US in play. Rather than focus on such traditional issues as job security, wages, and healthcare, the newly merged hotel employees' union, Unite Here, seeks to win new two-year agreements in those cities that would expire at the same time as existing contracts in key destinations from the East Coast to Hawaii. If successful, the strategy would affect more than 67,000 union members at almost 350 hotels. Operators deferred to their trade group, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, for comment. But one unidentified manager told the Journal that the implications of a possible nationwide strike would be devastating. Unite Here was formed July 8 when the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union joined forces with the Union of Needletrades, Textiles, and Industrial Employees.

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