FTC blesses AOL/Time Warner nuptials

One more regulatory hurdle left

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday finally approved the proposed $111 billion merger of America Online and Time Warner after reaching a settlement purportedly requiring the vast, resulting media combo to keep its broadband pipes open to competing ISPs.

Numerous consumer groups and competitors believed the settlement was too weak and urged the Commission to reject it. Opponents include such tireless combatants for consumer interests as Microsoft and Disney. But not a single Commissioner was swayed by the objections, as the FTC voted 5/0 for approval.

This leaves only one more regulatory hurdle in place: the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has yet to give its final blessing, but is not expected to come up with any surprises. The FCC intends to complete its review in January.

Both companies' shares were up slightly in mid-day trading on the news. &reg.

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