Date: 15th December 2000

FTC Approves AOL-Time Warner Merger

The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday unanimously approved the America Online-Time Warner merger after the two companies agreed to accept severe restrictions aimed at preventing the combined company from engaging in monopolistic practices. Some consumer advocacy groups hailed the action as a victory for consumers. Three major media companies that had fought the merger -- Disney, Microsoft, and AT&T -- each issued statements expressing satisfaction with the regulatory outcome. FTC chairman Robert Pitofsky said that the commission had conditioned its approval on the two companies agreeing to guarantee open access to the Time Warner cable system for high-speed Internet services. Bloomberg News quoted Pitofsky as saying, "open access is the way to go for this country." However, he noted, if the market doesn't produce it, then Congress should step in. Although AOL's stock is down 32 percent since the merger was announced, the deal nevertheless is worth $112 billion, making it the biggest merger in history.

Source: Studio Briefing