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National Telephone Agrees to Be Bought

Controversial long-distance telephone services reseller National Telephone & Communications Inc. said Wednesday it will be acquired by a holding company owned by Minneapolis investors John R. Dennis and Sire Capital Partners.

National has paid more than $1.5 million in three cases in the past year to settle charges that it switched consumers’ long-distance carriers without their knowledge--a practice known as slamming. In two cases in California, regulators said the company forged some consumers’ signatures.

The holding company, NTC Acquisitions, has agreed to pay between $10.7 million and $13.7 million cash and about 16% of its common stock for National Telephone, a subsidiary of Los Angeles-based Incomnet Inc. Additionally, NTC Acquisitions will assume $28 million of Irvine-based National Telephone and Communications’ bank debt and other liabilities.

The sale is expected to close near the end of the second quarter.

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