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News > Deals
AOL, Time give ground?
September 25, 2000: 6:16 a.m. ET

Report: Merger partners propose to extend rivals' access to music business
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LONDON (CNNfn) - America Online Inc. and Time Warner Inc. offered tougher measures to ensure that their combined market power wouldn't crush rival Internet and entertainment companies, in the latest bid to win regulatory approval for their $122 billion union, a media report said Monday.

The companies have told European Union antirust officials they will extend by two years the period in which they would allow rivals equal access to the merged company's music distribution channels and music catalog, the Wall Street Journal reported in its interactive edition.

The new concession, extending the equal-access period to five years from three, was delivered in a proposal Thursday to the European Commission, the executive arm of the 15-nation EU, said the report.

Most of the other concessions contained in the companies' latest submission differed little from the original measures AOL (AOL: Research, Estimates) and Time Warner (TWX: Research, Estimates) proposed as ways of overcoming the EU's concerns that a merger would hamper competition, the Journal reported, citing unnamed people who had seen the confidential proposals.

Time Warner is the parent company of CNNfn.com.

Competitors and regulators are concerned that the combination of the companies could allow AOL and Time Warner, which has one of the largest music catalogs in the industry and is forming a joint venture with British music publisher EMI Group PLC, to dominate online music distribution.

The European Commission circulated the proposals to EU member states and AOL and Time Warner's competitors on Thursday.

Rivals British Telecommunications PLC, Walt Disney Co. and others have until midnight to give their opinions to the commission, the newspaper reported.

The commission is expected to rule no later than Oct. 24, but the Journal said it might give its decision in early October.

Some complained that the nondiscrimination clause extension applies largely to music distribution, but doesn't mention news and video content. Some also complained that five years might not be enough, the report said.

Reuters on Friday quoted an industry source as saying that AOL's and Time Warner's proposals included four steps to counter concerns that the combined company would stifle competition in the distribution of entertainment over the Internet.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which along with the Federal Trade Commission is conducting the U.S. antitrust review of the AOL-Time Warner union, is expected to complete its deliberations within a month. Back to top

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.