AOL/Time Warner merger in the balance



The Federal Trade Commission is expected to decide today whether to approve the merger of America Online and Time Warner in a vote that could ignite a rush...



The Federal Trade Commission is expected to decide today whether to approve the merger of America Online and Time Warner in a vote that could ignite a rush of new content and cable alliances, reports techweb.com

The merger would create a union in content and distribution, integrating high-speed Internet over cable, online music, programming, entertainment, instant messaging, and interactive TV.

These developments are likely to follow if the US$183-billion deal secures commission approval.

"It appears the commission is leaning toward approving the merger," said Erik Olbeter, Internet analyst for the Schwab Washington Research Group, Washington, D.C. "But with the vote less than 24 hours away, a number of commissioners have not decided how they will vote."

The conditions that the FTC and -- later, the Federal Communications Commission -- tie to the merger will help shape the rules for competition as other cable players roll out high-speed Internet services.

The agency has reviewed the merger for the effects of its likely market dominance in Internet, content, and entertaiment.

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