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News > Deals
AOL-Time review blasted
September 28, 2000: 6:09 a.m. ET

Report: US lawmakers say regulators' demands for merger unreasonable
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LONDON (CNNfn) - U.S. lawmakers accused federal regulators of overstepping their legal authority in their investigation of the proposed merger of America Online Inc. and Time Warner Inc., a media report said.

The unexpected criticism on Wednesday emerged amid signs of growing support in financial markets for the deal, the Financial Times said in its interactive edition.

The report quoted analysts as saying that AOL (AOL: Research, Estimates) and Time Warner were likely to agree to most conditions U.S. regulators might impose to enable to deal to go-ahead. Time Warner (TWX: Research, Estimates) is the parent company of CNNfn.com.

Congressmen, meanwhile, said the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communication Commission were intervening excessively.

"I think the whole process stinks," Billy Tauzin, chairman of the House of Representatives subcommittee for telecommunications policy, was quoted as saying.

Tom Bliley, chairman of the House commerce committee, criticized the two agencies for trying to force Time Warner to open up its cable systems to independent Internet access providers, the report said.

Neither the FTC nor FCC has publicly said that such "open access" terms would be conditions of the merger approval, but telecom industry executives involved in the review process said both commissions were likely to impose the rules, the FT reported.

Bliley wrote in his letter to the FTC that the agency didn't have the jurisdiction to rule on who had access to Time Warner's cable lines. His letter to the FCC said it was unfair to single out Time Warner for opening its network when other cable companies were not subject to such conditions.

The report said neither agency could be reached for comment late Wednesday.

The criticism came at a congressional hearing where AOL chief executive Steve Case and Time Warner counterpart Gerald Levin said they, too, oppose being forced to open up their networks.

European regulators are also reviewing proposed concessions by AOL and Time Warner and are expected decide whether to allow the merger to go ahead no later than Oct. 24. Back to top

  RELATED STORIES

Report: AOL, Time Warner offer to extend nondiscrimination period - Sep. 25, 2000

AOL, Time Warner offer concessions to EU regulators - Sep. 22, 2000

FTC preparing to block AOL/Time Warner? - Sep. 21, 2000

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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.