First Data Corp. has reached an agreement to buy a majority stake in NYCE Corp., the electronic funds transfer network, First Data said late Thursday.

The agreement caps weeks of speculation about the possibility of a merger between Atlanta-based First Data and NYCE, of Woodcliffe Lake, N.J.

The deal could mean NYCE will have the financial backing it needs to fund expansion plans and gives First Data control of an electronic funds transfer network, something it has long coveted.

Terms of the agreement were not immediately available.

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