EC to rule on AOL, Time-Warner Wednesday

Well, they'll discuss it at least

The European Commission will decide whether to allow AOL's $135 billion merger with Time-Warner on Wednesday, an EC spokeswoman admitted today.

"The ruling on AOL/Time Warner is on the agenda for Wednesday's Commission meeting," she told Reuters this morning.

Of course, whether the EC will actually announce its decision is another matter, but beyond the fact that its deadline doesn't fall until later this month, there seems little reason for delay.

An pronouncement on the subject was expected last Wednesday, but that came and went with no statement from the EC's anti-trust regulators. EC insiders had said the Commission would rule on the merger on the 11 October, though 4 October had also been mooted.

The decision will, it is believed, be a positive one for the AOL and Time-Warner. Insiders said the deal was likely to go ahead, despite initial concerns over its effect on the competitive landscape in both content and online access provision.

While the AOL/Time-Warner deal is set to be okayed, sources claimed, the parallel merger between Warner Music and EMI was set to be rejected. EMI and Warner called off their tie-in last week, after failing to persuade the EC to allow the merger. ®

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