EC Is Set To OK on AOL-Time Warner
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ European regulators are expected to give antitrust clearance Wednesday to America Online’s Inc. proposed acquisition of Time Warner Inc., pending certain conditions.
The ruling would come just one week after Time Warner abandoned a separate joint venture deal between its Warner Music subsidiary and London’s EMI Group PLC, which would have created a giant music company.
With the EMI deal now off the table, many expect the AOL-Time Warner transaction to face smoother sailing with regulators at the European Commission, who had objected strongly to the music transaction.
The EC is expected to approve the $128 billion deal, pending certain conditions. These reportedly might include assurances that the new company won’t dominate the emerging area of digital music downloads.
The AOL-Time Warner deal must also be approved by U.S. regulators, who have been giving the transaction close scrutiny. That decision is expected later this year.
The EC, the executive body of the European Union, is also reviewing the pending merger between the French media and utilities conglomerate and Seagram Co., the Canadian beverage concern that owns the Universal music and movie studio.