Federal regulators approved British Telecom’s takeover of MCI Communications on Monday in what would be the biggest foreign takeover of a U.S. corporation.
The Justice Department’s action clears a crucial hurdle for the purchase of the nation’s second-largest long-distance company.
The proposed merger still requires approval from the Federal Communications Commission and a few state regulatory bodies, including California’s.
The European Union in May cleared the merger proposal subject to conditions to protect competition. Both companies’ shareholders also have approved the transaction.
When British Telecommunications and MCI Communications announced their deal in November of 1996, it was valued at $20.8 billion.
Globally, the combined company would rank second only to AT&T; as a long-distance carrier.