EU gives its blessing, the Mouse gives it a blast

Tue, 10/03/2000 - 8:00pm

Virgin sacrifice? The European Commission has reached no decision yet on its plans to approve America Online 's $142 billion purchase of Time Warner, along with Time Warner's music venture with EMI Group, although the companies offered concessions to soothe competition concerns, according to people familiar with the matter.

Time Warner and EMI pledged to sell Virgin Records, one of EMI's top music labels, and Warner's Chappell music catalog, the Wall Street Journal reported last week. The EU has considered blocking both transactions before the latest concessions. The merger of Time Warner's music division with EMI would create the world's largest music company.

Meanwhile, Disney is singing a different tune than EU about the merger. A Walt Disney lobbyist is saying AOL sought to block subscribers from getting access to content other than its own and tried to punish a partner when customers headed to other Internet sites. Disney is a leading critic of the union, saying the merger will discriminate against other content providers unless federal regulators impose specific conditions.


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