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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 debt will stand at $311 million after the bond buyback.

Western Union is retaining its money-transfer service, electronic bill-paying service and Priority Services division, which provides Mailgram, priority letter and custom letter services.

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