Date: 12th January 2001

The Deal Is Finally Done

The AOL-Time Warner merger bounded over its final regulatory hurdle Thursday when the FCC conditionally approved the $106-billion deal. The majority of the commission insisted that the company open AOL's next generation of instant-messaging service to rivals, but two Republican members dissented, maintaining that no conditions should be attached to the merger. In fact, some of AOL's rivals had fought for additional conditions. Microsoft, Excite@Home and AT&T had each wanted the FCC to force AOL to open its existing instant-messaging service. While their cause was backed by Commissioner Gloria Tristani, the commission -- Tristani included -- decided in the end to limit its provisions to the advanced messaging services that AOL has designed for the future, including video conferencing, music swapping, and interactive TV. Time Warner Chairman Gerald Levin will be CEO of the new company, while AOL founder Steve Case will be its chairman. [Late Thursday, AOL posted a "hyperlinked" headline on its Welcome Page headlined "Chairman Steve Case talks about the merger and what's ahead." Clicking on the headline brought up the message: "The HTTP request was in an invalid format or contained invalid data. ... Contact the server administrator."]

Source: Studio Briefing