Western Union Completes Sale of Telex, Electronic Mail Units

Article excerpt

UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. (AP) - Western Union Corp., hoping to avoid involuntary bankruptcy, completed a deal Monday to sell its telex and electronic mail businesses to American Telephone & Telegraph Co. for $180 million.

Western Union will use the money to buy back some of its junk bonds, helping ease its crushing interest-payment burden.

Western Union's remaining operations are its money-transfer service, electronic bill-paying service and electronic letter services such as Mailgram.

Western Union will buy back $335 million worth of its high-interest, high-risk bonds at 50 cents on the dollar, the company said. The buyback involves $329 million worth of 19 1/4 percent notes and $6 million of 16 percent notes from investors who accept the offer by Thursday.

Western Union's debt will stand at $311 million after the bond buyback.

The transaction eases the threat of involuntary bankruptcy, which has dogged the company since it missed a $51 million interest payment in June, said Robert J. …