Western Union Close to Eliminating Debt
Western Union Close to Eliminating Debt NEWARK, N.J. - Western Union Corp., the communications pioneer that has foundered because of heavy debts, said Friday it was close to alleviating a substantial part of its obligations. The company said enough bondholders appeared to have accepted its offer to exchange high-yield ``junk bond'' debt securities for 50 cents on the dollar. The announcement suggested the company has avoided a cash crisis. There had been persistent speculation that Western Union could have been forced into bankruptcy-court refuge because of its debts.
When the exchange offer expired midnight Thursday, preliminary figures indicated that $328.6 million of the debt securites, which paid 19 1/4 percent interest, and $5.9 million of securities, which paid 16 percent interest, had been exchanged for the cash, company spokesman Warren Bechtel said. Western Union had offered to make the exchange for up to $350 million worth of these securities. A minimum of $250 million of the 19 1/4 percent notes had to be tendered for the proposal to go through, Bechtel said.
The apparent success of the offer would mark the end of a grueling five-month ordeal for Western Union, which has been struggling to satisfy bondholders afraid they wouldn't get repaid. The company, based in Saddle River, N.J. originally had proposed exchanging $530 million of high-yield notes for lower-yield notes plus stock. After numerous deadline extensions for acceptance of that offer, Western Union realized it wouldn't be accepted and offered the cas instead.
Money Supply Measures Rise NEW YORK - The two broadest measures of the nation's money supply rose in the week ended Dec. 17, the Federal Reserve Board reported Friday. The Fed said the measure known as M2 rose to a seasonally adjusted $3,323.4 billion from $3,318.8 billion the previous week. An even broader measure, M3, rose to a seasonally adjusted $4,093.2 billion from $4,088.1 billion. The narrowest measure of the money supply, M1, rose to a seasonally adjusted $823.9 billion from $820.7 billion.
IBM to Establish Australia Network Hub CANBERRA, Australia - International Business Machines Corp. announced plans Friday to establish a major telecommunications networking hub for the Asia-Pacific region in Australia. …