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PSINet sells consumer accounts

Deal allows MindSpring to go national; PSINet to focus on corporate customers.

MindSpring Enterprises said late Friday that it will buy PSINet's consumer Internet-access business for about $23 million.

The purchase will triple MindSpring's subscriber base and transform the company from a regional access provider based in the Southeast into a national provider. PSINet, which will now concentrate on corporate accounts, has more than 100,000 individual customers, including subscribers to its Pipeline and Interramp services.

The market for providing Internet access has become increasingly competitive, particularly since AT&T entered the fray in February. Many regional Baby Bell companies also are launching access services and the cable industry is moving closer to becoming a major player in the market.

As part of the deal, MindSpring customers will be able to dial in to any of PSINet's 227 POPs nationwide. MindSpring also acquires the rights to use PSINet's Pipeline name, software, and content.

MindSpring shares was unchanged Friday at 10-5/8; PSINet gained 1 point to close at 11-1/2.