Any $1 billion corporate merger is bound to turn heads, but when a bankrupt company commands that sort of price tag, it's enough to cause whiplash.

But $1.2 billion is the amount First Financial Management Corp. of Atlanta will spend for the money-transfer operations of Western Union, which were auctioned off by a bankruptcy court in September. Western Union had been owned by New Valley Corp. of Paramus, NJ., and FFMC's offer beat competing bids by First Data Corp. of Hackensack, NJ, and New York leveraged buyout specialists, Forstmann Little & Co.

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