Federal antitrust enforcers have recommended blocking MCI WorldCom Inc.'s purchase of Sprint Corp., The Wall Street Journal reported. Justice Department staff members are against the deal, the newspaper said, because it would combine the second- and third-largest long-distance carriers and because the companies would dominate Internet switching services. Justice's antitrust chief, Joel Klein, is expected to meet next week with lawyers for both companies, but he is not bound by the recommendation. The deal is also under review by the Federal Communications Commission and the European Commission, which last month warned of antitrust problems. The merger is valued between $115 billion and $129 billion.
M&T Bank Corp. announced it will buy Keystone Financial for $1 billion, creating the 29th-largest bank in the US. Keystone's stock price has plunged more than 47 percent in the past year because it paid $30 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over mishandled investments. That meant Buffalo, N.Y.-based M&T could make the acquisition at a lower price. Keystone is based in Harrisburg, Pa.
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