Key developments in the history of WorldCom Inc.:

-- 1983: At a Hattiesburg, Miss., coffee shop, founders Bernie Ebbers, Bill Fields, David Singleton and Murray Waldron work out details for starting LDDS, or Long Distance Discount Service. The company name is suggested by a waitress.

-- 1984: LDDS sells its first minute of long distance to the University of Southern Mississippi.

-- 1988-94: LDDS acquires more than a half-dozen communications companies and expands its reach throughout the United States.

-- 1994: LDDS acquires IDB WorldCom, an international company.

-- 1995: LDDS changes its name to WorldCom Inc. with Ebbers as CEO.

-- 1996: WorldCom Inc. acquires UUNET Technologies Inc. through merger.

-- Nov. 10, 1997: WorldCom and MCI announce $37 billion merger.

-- 1998: WorldCom acquires Brooks Fiber Properties and CompuServe.

-- June 21, 1999: WorldCom stock peaks at $64.50.

-- 1999: WorldCom and Sprint announce a $115 billion merger agreement, which is called off in June 2000.

-- 2000: WorldCom's sagging stock price forces Ebbers to sell 3 million shares in the firm to pay off debts.

-- Feb. 28, 2001: WorldCom lays off about 6,000 workers nationwide.

-- April 29, 2002: Ebbers resigns as CEO, replaced the next day by John Sidgmore.

-- June 14: Sidgmore announces WorldCom will lay off 17,000 workers.

-- June 24: WorldCom stock drops below $1, closing at 91 cents.

-- June 25: WorldCom admits to inflating earnings by $3.8 billion; stock falls to 20 cents.

-- June 26: Securities and Exchange Commission files fraud charges against WorldCom.

-- July 21: WorldCom files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

-- Aug. 1: Former WorldCom chief financial officer Scott Sullivan and controller David Myers arrested on charges of securities fraud, conspiracy and filing false statements with the SEC.

-- Aug. 8: WorldCom says another $3.3 billion in improper accounting discovered, bringing total to $7.15 billion.