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April 8, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:25pm


By CBR Staff Writer

The Wall Street Journal believes it has firmed up the America Online Inc-CompuServe Corp story, and reckons the Dulles, Virginia company is negotiating to buy CompuServe for around $1.2bn in shares. The paper says negotiators spent the weekend working on terms, which would see America Online paying between $11 to $14 a share. Executives familiar with the talks told the paper the two sides hoped to strike an accord as early as this week, although the exact price could prove a sticking point since CompuServe shares jumped last week after word of America Online’s interest broke, and the shares of the ravaged company jumped to $13.625 on Friday in response to the gossip. The two companies have a very different corporate ethos, with America Online wooing on-line novices with glitter and glitz, which CompuServe has made itself a home for the techno-savvy and business users. But if the 3 million or so subscribers – compared with 8m for America Online, did decide to defect after acquisition, the prospect before them would be bleak, because the two seen as the leading rivals for disaffected users, Microsoft Corp with the Microsoft Network, and AT&T Corp, are both firmly in the glitz and glitter rather than the techno-savvy camp. One of the biggest boosts would be to America Online’s international ambitions, because CompuServe is the only one well established in Europe. H&R Block still holds 80% of CompuServe, Kansas City, and badly wants shot of it but would end up with America Online shares.

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