Disconnecting a Telephone Empire

ITT May Spin Off a $2 Billion Global Communications Network

In 1920 a sugar broker from the Virgin Islands named Sosthenes Behn founded International Telephone & Telegraph, hoping to link callers around the world much as AT&T had connected phone users in the U.S. For decades thereafter, Behn's successors at ITT remained true to his vision. Even when ITT's acquisitive chairman Harold Geneen began buying dozens of companies in such fields as aerospace, bakery goods and cosmetics in the 1960s and 1970s, he kept ITT firmly planted in global telecommunications.

Now, however, ITT appears on the verge of pulling up its roots. In a startling disclosure, company officials said last week...

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