Beautiful RARE engraved specimen certificate from MCI Communications Corporation
dated no later than 1985. This historic document was printed by American Bank Note Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of an allegorical woman. This item has the printed signatures of the Company's chairman, William G. McGowan and it Secretary and is over 22 years old.
MCI Communications was an American telecommunications company that was instrumental in legal and regulatory changes that led to the breakup of the AT&T monopoly of American telephony and ushered in the competitive long distance telephone industry.
Founded in 1963, it grew to be the second largest long-distance provider in the U.S. It was purchased by WorldCom in 1998 and became MCI WorldCom, and afterwards being shortened to WorldCom in 2000. WorldCom's financial scandals and bankruptcy led that company to change its name in 2003 to MCI. The MCI name disappeared in January 2006 after the company was bought by Verizon.
MCI corporate logo before WorldCom mergerMCI was founded as Microwave Communications, Inc. on 3 October 1963 with John D. Goeken being named the company's first president. The initial business plan was for the company to build a series of microwave relay stations between Chicago, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri. The relay stations would then be used to interface with limited range two-way radios used by truckers along U.S. Route 66 or by barges on the Illinois Waterway. The long distance communication service would then be marketed to shipping companies that were too small to build their own private relay systems. In addition to the radio relay services, MCI soon made plans to offer voice, computer information, and data communication services for business customers unable to afford AT&T's TELPAK service.
The fledgling business began a process of raising capital and submitting applications to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for appropriate licenses. Hearings on Microwave Communications' initial application occurred between 13 February 1967 and 19 April 1967 resulted in a recommendation that the FCC approve MCI's application.
Another FCC ruling that would affect the company was the 26 June 1968 ruling in the Carterfone case that deemed AT&T's rules prohibiting private two-way radio connections to a telephone network were illegal. AT&T quickly sought a reversal of the ruling, and when the FCC denied their request brought suit against the FCC in the U.S. Court of Appeals. The FCC's decision was upheld thus creating a new industry: privately (non-Bell) manufactured devices could be connected to the telephone network as long as the manufacturer met interface standards.
In 1968 William G. McGowan, an investor from New York with experience in raising venture capital, met with the board of Microwave Communications to discuss financing plans for the business. As a result of meetings in June and July, Microwave Communications of America, Inc (MICOM) was incorporated on 8 August 1968 as an umbrella corporation to help build a nationwide microwave relay system. McGowan also made an investment into the new corporation large enough to pay off all outstanding debts of the combined businesses and create a cash reserve. The investment also provided McGowan a stake in the company and a seat on the board.
Despite a 1967 recommendation that MCI's application be approved, final authorization for MCI to begin operations was delayed until after H. Rex Lee became an FCC Commissioner in October 1968. Following Lee's joining of the commission, MCI began a series of submissions including a proposal for a low-cost educational television network designed to show MCI as being more flexible to public needs than AT&T. While MCI was performing this lobbying, the President's Task Force on Communication Policy issued a report recommending that specialized common carriers be allowed free access into the private line business.
The FCC issued a final ruling on Docket 16509, MCI's licensing request, on 14 August 1969. By a decision of 4–3 MCI was licensed for operation. This ruling was quickly appealed by AT&T, and after a denial of the appeal by the commission AT&T filed a suit with the U.S. Court of Appeals to have the ruling overturned.
Following the FCC approval for MCI to begin building microwave relay stations between Chicago and St. Louis, Microwave Communications of America began to form subsidiary corporations and file applications with the FCC to create microwave relays between other city pairs. Between September 1969 and February 1971 fifteen new regional carriers were created allowing for interconnection between a number of major cities in the United States. In July 1969, MICOM also purchasing an equity position in Interdata, an independent regional carrier that was applying to build a microwave relay chain between New York City and Washington, D.C. MCI began selling data transmission services to paying customers on 1 January 1972.
To pay for the microwave transmission and relay equipment needed for build out, MICOM began a series of private stock offerings on May 1971. In July 1971 MICOM was restructured into MCI Communications, and the restructured company began the process of absorbing the regional carriers into a single corporation. MCI went public on 22 June 1972, selling an initial offering of 3.3 million shares.
When it ran into problems competing with AT&T, which at the time had a government-supported monopoly in telephone service, it moved to Washington, D.C. to be close to federal regulators and lawmakers. The joke is that in its early years, MCI had more lawyers than land lines or that it was "A law firm with an antenna on the roof". The antitrust lawsuit that it filed against AT&T, coupled with the Department of Justice antitrust suit also brought against AT&T eventually led to the breakup of the Bell System by regulators, reshaping the nation's telecommunications.
In 1991, British Telecommunications PLC purchased 20% of the company and later made an offer to purchase the rest in 1996. At the same time, GTE, now a part of Verizon, made a bid to purchase MCI for an all-cash purchase. Instead, MCI merged with WorldCom, Inc. on November 10, 1997 in a stock-swap deal valued at US$34.7 billion, creating MCI WorldCom. On September 15, 1998 the new company, MCI WorldCom, opened for business.
After the opening of the long distance market in 1984, companies such as MCI and Sprint were able to compete for customers with AT&T. One of MCI's early advertising success stories was to hire the same actors used in a previous AT&T commercial. As in the AT&T commercial, the woman actor was crying. In the AT&T version, when the husband asked why, the wife replied "he said he loved me" referring to the conversation just ended with a son who was in a distant part of the country. It was part of AT&T's very effective "Reach Out" ad strategy. In the MCI version, when the husband asked the wife why she was crying, she replied "I just received my phone bill"... after which an announcer's voice stated "You're not talking too much, you're just paying too much. MCI: The Nation's New Long Distance Telephone Company".
Even before the competitive long distance market came into existence, MCI created (in late 1970) a subsidiary company named MCI Satellite, Inc. The idea was that satellites could provide 'long distance' service from anywhere to anywhere without having to build thousands of miles of terrestrial network facilities. In early 1971, MCI and Lockheed Missiles and Space Company created a joint venture named MCI Lockheed Satellite Corp. which was the first company to request FCC authorization as a Specialized Common Carrier using satellite based communications. A year later, MCI and Lockheed sought an additional source of funding and Comsat Corp. entered the venture which was renamed CML Satellite Corp. In need of cash, MCI sold its share of the venture to IBM Corporation in 1974 (Lockheed also subsequently sold its share to IBM). IBM and Comsat brought in Aetna Insurance Company as a third partner and renamed the company Satellite Business Systems (SBS). In a twist of fate, IBM, which years later became the sole owner of SBS sold the satellite subsidiary back to MCI in 1985.
MCI was the first company to deploy Single Mode Fiber Optic Cable (the standard had been Multi-mode) which was manufactured by Siecor, a joint venture between Siemens Telecom and Corning Glass Company. The fiber cable ran between New York City and Washington D.C. and was turned up for service in 1984. Eventually, Single Mode fiber became the standard for US Telecom carriers.
A later marketing strategy employed by MCI was the Friends & Family plan, an early type of loyalty program. In this program, customers would receive a reduced rate when both the caller and callee were MCI customers.
The company also introduced a dial-around collect calling service called "1-800-COLLECT". AT&T quickly responded with "1-800-OPERATOR" but AT&T's ineffective marketing campaign combined with people misspelling operator (either as "operater" or by dialing 1-800 then pressing the "0" (Operator) button) allowed MCI to benefit. Subsequently, AT&T renamed and re-introduced their dial-around collect service as 1-800-CALL-ATT ("Dial down the middle!") but this was also apparently too confusing for consumers and never came close to the success enjoyed by 1-800-COLLECT.
In 1995 MCI introduced 1-800-MUSIC-NOW, a short-lived telephone-based and online music store.
In the early 1980's, MCI developed a data network using the CCITT X.25 Packet protocol and sold a service called MCI Mail. There were other commercially available Electronic Mail systems, such as IBM's Professional Office System (PROFs), but they didn't interface with each other until the development of the CCITT X.400 standard in 1984. During this time, Vint Cerf (one of the developers of the TCP/IP protocol) was head of MCI Digital Information Services and led the effort to interconnect MCI Mail with the Internet- the first commercial e-mail service to do so.
In the mid-to-late 1980's MCI partnered with several universities and provided the high speed telecommunications links between their computer systems. This network, operated under the auspies of the National Science Foundation was called NSFNet, used the TCP/IP protocol that had been developed by the U.S. Department of Defense ARPANet and was the immediate forerunner to the Internet. From the early 90's on, MCI's network was an integral part of the global Internet backbone.
MCI, Inc. was an American telecommunications company that was headquartered in Ashburn, Virginia. The corporation was the result of the merger of WorldCom (formerly known as LDDS followed by LDDS WorldCom) and MCI Communications, and used the name MCI WorldCom followed by WorldCom before taking its final name on April 14, 2003 as part of the corporation's emergence from bankruptcy. The company formerly traded on NASDAQ under the symbols "WCOM" (pre-bankruptcy) and "MCIP" (post-bankruptcy). The corporation was purchased by Verizon Communications with the deal closing on January 6, 2006, and is now identified as that company's Verizon Business division with the local residential divisions slowly integrated into local Verizon subsidiaries.
MCI's history, combined with the histories of companies it has acquired, echoes most of the trends that have swept American telecommunications in the past half-century: It was instrumental in pushing legal and regulatory changes that led to the breakup of the AT&T monopoly that dominated American telephony; its purchase by WorldCom and subsequent bankruptcy in the face of accounting scandals was symptomatic of the Internet excesses of the late 1990s. It accepted a proposed purchase by Verizon for US$7.6 billion.
For a time, WorldCom (WCOM) was the United States' second largest long distance phone company (AT&T was the largest). WorldCom grew largely by acquiring other telecommunications companies, most notably MCI Communications. It also owned the Tier 1 ISP UUNET, a major part of the Internet backbone. It was based in Clinton, Mississippi before moving to its present corporate headquarters.
Long Distance Discount Services, Inc. (LDDS) began in Jackson, Mississippi in 1983. In 1985 LDDS selected Bernard Ebbers to be its CEO. The company went public in August 1989 when it merged with Advantage Companies Inc. The company name was changed to LDDS WorldCom in 1995, and later just WorldCom.
The company’s growth under WorldCom was fueled primarily through acquisitions during the 1990s and reached its apex with the acquisition of MCI in 1998. Among the companies that were bought or merged with WorldCom were Advanced Communications Corp. (1992), Metromedia Communication Corp.(1993), Reurgens Communications Group(1993), IDB Communications Group, Inc (1994), Williams Technology Group, Inc. (1995), and MFS Communications Company (1996). The acquisition of MFS included UUNet Technologies, Inc., which had been acquired by MFS shortly before the merger with WorldCom. In February 1998, a complex transaction saw WorldCom purchase online pioneer CompuServe from its parent company H&R Block. WorldCom then retained the CompuServe Network Services Division, sold its online service to America Online, and received AOL's network division, ANS. The acquisition of Digex (DIGX) in June 2001 was also complex; Worldcom acquired Digex's corporate parent, Intermedia Communications, and then sold all of Intermedia's non-Digex assets to Allegiance Telecom.
MCI WorldCom logo (Used from 1998–2000)On November 10, 1997, WorldCom and MCI Communications announced their US$37 billion merger to form MCI WorldCom, making it the largest merger in US history. On September 15, 1998 the new company, MCI WorldCom, opened for business.
WorldCom logo (Used from 2000–2003)On October 5, 1999 Sprint Corporation and MCI WorldCom announced a $129 billion merger agreement between the two companies. The deal would have been the largest corporate merger in history up to that time. The new company was to have been WorldCom and would have been the largest communications company in the United States. The merger would have put AT&T in the number two spot of the largest communications companies in the US for the first time in history. However the deal did not go through because of pressure from the US Department of Justice and the EU on concerns of it creating a monopoly. On July 13, 2000, the Board of Directors of both companies acted to terminate the merger. Later, in 2000, MCI WorldCom renamed itself WorldCom without Sprint being part of the company.
Bernard Ebbers became very wealthy from the rising price of his holdings in WorldCom’s stock. However, shortly after the MCI acquisition in 1998, the telecommunications industry entered a downturn and WorldCom’s growth strategy suffered a serious blow when it was forced to abandon its proposed merger with Sprint in late 2000. By that time, WorldCom’s stock was declining and Ebbers came under increasing pressure from banks to cover margin calls on his WorldCom stock that was used to finance his other businesses (timber and yachting, among others). During 2001, Ebbers persuaded WorldCom’s board of directors to provide him corporate loans and guarantees in excess of $400 million to cover his margin calls, but this strategy ultimately failed and Ebbers was ousted as CEO in April 2002 and replaced by John Sidgmore, former executive of UUNet Technologies, Inc.
Beginning in 1999 and continuing through May 2002, the company (under the direction of Scott Sullivan (CFO), David Myers (Controller) and Buford “Buddy” Yates (Director of General Accounting)) used fraudulent accounting methods to mask its declining financial condition by painting a false picture of financial growth and profitability to prop up the price of WorldCom’s stock.
The fraud was accomplished primarily in two ways:
Underreporting ‘line costs’ (interconnection expenses with other telecommunication companies) by capitalizing these costs on the balance sheet rather than properly expensing them.
Inflating revenues with bogus accounting entries from ‘corporate unallocated revenue accounts’.
WorldCom’s internal audit department uncovered approximately $3.8 billion of the fraud in June 2002 during a routine examination of capital expenditures and alerted the company’s new auditors, KPMG (who had replaced Arthur Andersen, WorldCom’s external auditors during the fraud). Shortly thereafter, the company’s audit committee and board of directors were notified of the fraud and acted swiftly: Sullivan was fired, Myers resigned, Arthur Andersen withdrew its audit opinion for 2001, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched an investigation into these matters on June 26, 2002 (see accounting scandals). By the end of 2003, it was estimated that the company's total assets had been inflated by around $11 billion.
On July 21, 2002, WorldCom filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the largest such filing in United States history. WorldCom changed its name to MCI, and moved the corporate headquarters from Mississippi to Dulles, Virginia, on April 14, 2003.
Under the bankruptcy reorganization agreement, the company paid $750 million to the SEC in cash and stock in the new MCI, which was intended to be paid to wronged investors.
In May 2003, the company was given a no-bid contract by the United States Department of Defense to build a cellular telephone network in Iraq. The deal has been criticized by competitors and others who cite the company's lack of experience in the area.
The company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2004 with about $5.7 billion in debt and $6 billion in cash. About half of the cash was intended to pay various claims and settlements. Previous bondholders ended up being paid 35.7 cents on the dollar, in bonds and stock in the new MCI company. The previous stockholders' stock was valueless.
It has yet to pay many of its creditors, who have waited for two years for a portion of the money owed. Many of the small creditors include former employees, primarily those who were laid off in June 2002 and whose severance and benefits were withheld when WCOM filed for bankruptcy.
On August 7, 2002, the exWorldCom 5100 group was launched. It was composed from former WorldCom employees with a common goal of seeking full payment of severance pay and benefits based on the WorldCom Severance Plan. The '5100' stands for the number of WorldCom employees laid off on June 28, 2002 before WorldCom filed for bankruptcy.
On February 14, 2005, Verizon Communications agreed to acquire MCI for $7.6 billion.
On March 15, 2005 Bernard Ebbers was found guilty of all charges and convicted of fraud, conspiracy and filing false documents with regulators — all related to the $11 billion accounting scandal at the telecommunications company he founded. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Other former WorldCom officials charged with criminal penalties in relation to the company's financial misstatements include former CFO Scott Sullivan (entered a guilty plea on March 2, 2004 to one count each of securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and filing false statements ), former controller David Myers (pleaded guilty to securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and filing false statements on September 27, 2002 ), former accounting director Buford Yates (pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges on October 7, 2002 ), and former accounting managers Betty Vinson and Troy Normand (both pleading guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud on October 10, 2002 ).
On July 13, 2005 Bernard Ebbers received a sentence that would keep him in prison (potentially Yazoo City in Mississippi) for 25 years. At the time of the sentence Ebbers was 63 years old. He may potentially be let out of prison at the age of 83 on terms of good behavior. Ebbers reported to prison on September 26, 2006 to begin serving his sentence.
In March 2005, 16 of WorldCom's 17 former underwriters reached settlements with the investors (). Citigroup settled for $2.65 billion on May 10, 2004 .
In December 2005, Microsoft announced that MCI will join them by providing Windows Live Messenger customers voip service to make calls around the world. This was MCI's last totally new product called "MCI Web Calling". After the merge, this product was renamed "Verizon Web Calling", and continues to be a very promising product for future markets.
A Mock-up of the Verizon Business LogoOn February 14, 2005, Verizon agreed to acquire MCI, formerly WorldCom, after SBC Communications agreed to acquire AT&T just a few weeks earlier. The MCI/Verizon merger was put on hold until March 17, 2005 for them to evaluate a rival offer from Qwest, which made an offer that was potentially worth more. MCI accepted Verizon's initial bid, although it had a lower cash value, because of their perceived financial stability in comparison to Qwest’s, but holders of 26% of MCI stock requested that they evaluate the merits of both offers before making a final decision. Qwest later lost the battle for the acquisition of MCI. On October 6, 2005, the Special Meeting of MCI Stockholders on the subject of Verizon's acquisition resulted in 64 percent of outstanding shares voting in favor of Verizon's offer. The European Union regulator approved the merger on October 7, stating that a combined company would still face strong competition in Europe. U.S. regulatory requirements were satisfied by December 29, 2005. MCI has been incorporated into Verizon with the name Verizon Business.
The Verizon-MCI merger drew the ire of many MCI Inc shareholders because the MCI Inc Board of Directors seemed to inherently favor Verizon as a merger partner. Many notable institutional investors favored the Qwest terms, including Legg Mason and Omega Advisors. Small shareholders also spoke out against the merger.
The merger closed on January 6, 2006
History from Wikipedia and OldCompanyResearch.com.
Specimen Certificates are actual certificates that have never been issued. They were usually kept by the printers in their permanent archives as their only example of a particular certificate. Sometimes you will see a hand stamp on the certificate that says "Do not remove from file".
Specimens were also used to show prospective clients different types of certificate designs that were available. Specimen certificates are usually much scarcer than issued certificates. In fact, many times they are the only way to get a certificate for a particular company because the issued certificates were redeemed and destroyed. In a few instances, Specimen certificates we made for a company but were never used because a different design was chosen by the company.
These certificates are normally stamped "Specimen" or they have small holes spelling the word specimen. Most of the time they don't have a serial number, or they have a serial number of 00000. This is an exciting sector of the hobby that grown in popularity over the past several years.