NEW YORK (CNNfn) - BellSouth Corp. is trying to buy Sprint Corp., the nation's No. 3 long-distance telephone company, but any deal is probably months away, the Washington Post reported Thursday. Quoting sources familiar with the talks, the newspaper also said that SBC Communications Inc., the biggest local phone company in the Midwest, Texas and California, is talking about acquiring WorldCom Inc., the No. 2 long-distance carrier. But the sources said there had been no talks between SBC and WorldCom in recent weeks, the newspaper said. The report said BellSouth is discussing a complex deal to buy Sprint along with its national wireless business, then sell its 40 percent stake in Cingular Wireless back to its joint-venture partner, SBC. No proposed prices were mentioned in the report. All three companies declined to comment, the newspaper said, noting a Sprint spokesman called the account "rumor and speculation." According to the newspaper's sources, SBC's conversations with WorldCom began earlier this year and have recently cooled, but both companies remain interested. At a conference in New York Wednesday, WorldCom Chief Executive Bernie Ebbers was asked if WorldCom has held merger talks with SBC. He replied, "We haven't had any discussions." SBC said Tuesday it has no current plans for acquisitions. The newspaper said falling stock prices have made some companies potentially more attractive, while the Bush administration is expected to be less likely than its predecessor to block mergers. Sprint (FON: Research, Estimates) stock jumped $1.08 to $21.64 in morning trading, a gain of 5 percent, WorldCom (WCOM: Research, Estimates) rose $1.06, or 6 percent, to $17.50 while BellSouth (BLS: Research, Estimates) fell 64 cents to $40.01. SBC (SBC: Research, Estimates) added 34 cents to $42.45.