The telegraph market underwent a radical change during the late 1850s, when it passed from a state of quasi-free competition with warring companies to a duopoly held in place by more or less official cartel agreements. The turning point was the year 1855, when events both exogenous and endogenous forced the managerial class to take radical decisions in sharp contrast with their usual strategies. Thus they favoured the rise of new long-term characteristics in order to favour small shareholders after high dividends. Three events in particular stand out: the reinforcement of a new majority on the Electric’s board; the merger between the Magnetic and the British leading to the birth of an alternative group; the duopoly created between the Electric/British & Irish.
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