This is a merger they really want, and they got it. FTC approval was given Thursday to the mega-merger between AOL and Time Warner (TW) after the two companies committed to opening their cable systems across the nation to their Internet competitors. This last move apparently satisfied Federal Trade Commission regulators that the deal is good for competition. An FTC spokesman said commissioners voted 5-0 to clear the deal, the biggest in U.S. history, but the merger still faces FCC approval.
The combination of AOL, the world's largest Internet service provider, with the media and cable giant Time Warner would create a vast company spanning movies, magazines, television programming and cyberspace. Originally, the FTC was afraid the dominance of each of the companies in their respective fields could lead to too much control over the Internet.
In just one of a series of hoops the companies jumped through to allay those fears, TW last month crafted a contract with a major ISP provider, obviously to give subscribers a choice of who delivers their content. TW completed an agreement with Earthlink to fulfill this FTC requirement.