AT&T Buys On-line Service, Opens New Communications Unit
BASKING RIDGE, N.J. (AP) _ AT&T Corp. said Tuesday it has agreed to pay more than $40 million for the ImagiNation Network, an on-line computer service in which AT&T currently holds a 20 percent stake.
AT&T also announced the formation of a new unit, Consumer Interactive Services.
The new unit will be part of AT&T Communications Services Group, based here, and initially will offer the ImagiNation Network and AT&T PersonaLink Services, which went on the market in late September.
PersonaLink works with the Sony Magic Link personal communicator to let people manage their daily communications with mobile software programs.
AT&T said it will purchase all the shares of the ImagiNation Network it does not already own from its parent company, Sierra On-Line Inc., which holds a 60-percent interest, and General Atlantic Partners, a venture capital firm that owns the remainder.
The ImagiNation Network, headquartered in Burlingame, Calif., will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of AT&T in a move aimed at expanding its membership, the companies announced at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas.
Owners of Intel-based personal computers with modems can access the ImagiNation Network to use bulletin boards, have chat sessions with other members and play a variety of games. The deal is expected to take effect within 45 days, following a government-imposed waiting period.