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July 4, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

In the final betrayal of that old guy in peaked cap and glasses who always got shot in the first reel, before he could finish tapping out the vital message, AT&T Co is to pay $180m for ravaged Upper Saddle River, New Jersey-based Western Union Corp’s Business Services arm.Under the pact, AT&T will get the EasyLink electronic mail service to combine with its own AT&T Mail, as well as what’s left of the telex operations, and Western Union’s interests in electronic data interchange, voice-mail and facsimile services. The deal, which is subject to a whole string of approvals, leaves Western Union with its Mailgram business and its money transfer operations. The deal effectively marks the end of a 114-year war of attrition between the two companies. Western Union, already famed for the telegraph, which opened up the sparsely-populated parts of the North American continent, in 1876 let AT&T take on rights to Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone invention for $100,000, believing it would never catch on, and later selling AT&T the Western Electric business, which grew to turn AT&T into the biggest manufacturer of telephone kit in the US.

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