Verizon has written itself out of a further bidding battle for MCI.

A letter from Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg to MCI's chairman and CEO stated Verizon will drop out of the race for its rival if the MCI Board accepts a higher bid by Qwest as superior to its own.

It is just the latest salvo in a fight that began nearly two months ago when MCI agreed to a $6.7 billion stock-and-cash offer from Verizon. Rival Qwest then made its own offer, causing Verizon to retaliate and raise it offer to $7.6 billion. Qwest then upped its offer again to $8.9 billion.

"Verizon believes that the decision facing MCI is not about the math of a particular moment in time; it is about good business judgment, the best interests of shareowners and the long-term viability of the new company," Verizon's statement read. "Based on these criteria, Qwest has submitted what we believe to be an inferior offer."

If the MCI board declares Qwest's offer superior, Verizon would conclude that the MCI board is interested in short-term investors and not on the company's long-term strength, the statement complained. "Should this occur, we would no longer be interested in participating in such a process."

Verizon also urges the MCI board not to capitulate to Qwest's "artificial deadline" for deciding which bid is superior - Qwest said it expects MCI's board to notify it of its decision on its offer by today.