WorldCom Inc. (WCOM) operates the nation's second largest long-distance calling business and one of the world's biggest "backbone" networks for Internet traffic and electronic commerce.

The Jackson, Miss.-based company has 85,000 employees and had 2001 sales of $35.2 billion.

The company's primary holdings consist of the WorldCom Group serving large businesses and the MCI Group (MCIT) for consumers and small businesses. The two units have separate stocks, but WorldCom is in the process of eliminating the dual listing to simplify its business.

WorldCom Group provides data and telephone service, Web access and computer network management. It operates one of the world's most extensive communications networks based on the Internet protocol, or IP, data format.

MCI Group is the nation's No. 2 long distance provider behind AT&T and also provides local phone service in some states.

WorldCom also owns a 94 percent voting stake in Digex Inc., a Web hosting firm that had sales last year of $214 million, and a 52 percent controlling stake in Brazilian long-distance carrier Embratel Participacoes S.A.