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CNN Today

Federal Trade Commission Approves AOL and Time Warner Merger

Aired December 14, 2000 - 4:13 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, efforts to bring about the world's largest media marriage in history have cleared a big hurdle.

CNN's Greg Clarkin joins us from Washington with the latest step in the proposed $111 billion merger of AOL and CNN's parent company Time Warner -- Greg.

GREG CLARKIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, this merger was announced to great fanfare back in January. The regulatory process, though, took a little bit longer than the companies and many folks who followed these companies on Wall Street expected.

But today, indeed, the companies overcoming their biggest regulatory hurdle to date, and that is approval by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC voting unanimously, 5-0, to approve the merger of America Online and Time Warner.

Now, FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky said really it came down to one issue, and that is access -- access to those cable lines that Time Warner own. Those are cable lines that eventually will be offering broadband or high-speed Internet access services to millions of consumers around the country. What Pitofsky and other FTC commissioners were concerned about was that other Internet service providers in addition to America Online would have access -- equal access -- to those lines.

They were able to wrangle some, or wring some last minute concessions out of the two companies last night apparently, and that really is what swayed the commission to vote today 5-0. So now, where does this merger go? Well, it goes over to the Federal Communications Commission. They have promised a swift review of it, and the companies at this point are saying that they're hopeful they can get this thing nailed down and finalized once and for all probably in the first few weeks of the new year.

That's it from Washington. Back to you in Atlanta.

ALLEN: All right, Greg, thanks. Big doings today.

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