Apparently today's a day for some deja vu -- and hardly any surprise. Here lately, many of us have been likely waiting to learn for whom the Bell tolls this time. Today, we learned that Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and MCI (NYSE:MCIP) plan to merge in a $6.75 billion deal.

Just recently, rumors swirled that Motley Fool Inside Value pick MCI might be courted by Qwest (NYSE:Q), although it was known at that time that Verizon was a suitor as well. It's not surprising seeing how the industry has been making moves at consolidation at a rapid pace within recent months, with the announced hookups between SBC (NYSE:SBC) and AT&T (NYSE:T), and Sprint (NYSE:FON) and Nextel (NASDAQ:NXTL) making headlines.

The deal, which values MCI at $20.75 per share, will consist of a stock swap in which MCI shareholders will be given shares of Verizon, as well as cash. The Wall Street Journal reported that Qwest made an offer as high as $7.3 billion but that MCI chose Verizon because it is financially a more stable suitor.

However, Foolish contributor Rich Duprey recently pointed out that Motley Fool Inside Value's Philip Durell put a reasonable takeout price for MCI at $22 to $23 per share, which makes today's bid by Verizon look a bit like a cheapskate bid indeed. (Since its selection, the stock has yielded 50%+ including dividends in six months.)

It's clear that telecom companies face a difficult horizon given the current landscape. While Foolish contributor Ben McClure recently outlined the positive aspects of Verizon, he also underlined the aspects that make prospects cloudy for the company.

Not least of which are the competitive concerns cropping up now that cable operators such as Comcast are making aggressive strides into areas that at one time made up the basis for telecom's business. After all, Comcast's got digital telephone service that it wants to dangle in front of its subscribers as it tries to woo them away from traditional telecom service.

Oftentimes, it's perfectly fair to say, as an investor, that a particular industry seems to be in a lot of flux, and many of us might look elsewhere to place our hard-earned money. However, by taking a look at Durell's track record with MCI, it's also clear that for those who have the stomach for it, investing in unloved companies in industries that make some of us nervous can deliver some neat gains.

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MCI is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick, and although Verizon's bid for MCI may be a lowball one, that pick has still delivered a 43% gain to those who followed Philip Durell's recommendation. To find other companies that Philip has tapped as exceptional values, click here.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.