AOL-Time Warner Urge FCC to Exclude AT&T

In the latest in a series of letters defending their merger before the U.S.Federal Communications Commission, America Online Inc. - Time Warner Inc. executives argued that Time Warner's "interrelationship" with AT&T Corp. is no deal stopper.

Attorneys for AOL and Time Warner argued that the tie between AT&T and Time Warner -- put in place by AT&T's MediaOne Group Inc. buy -- has no place in the current merger attempt.

Through the MediaOne deal, AT&T got a limited partnership interest in Time Warner. But that interest "carries with it no management rights and no meaningful role," AOL-Time Warner lawyers wrote in a recent letter to the FCC.

The letter is the third in a series penned to government regulators. Company officials recently dashed off a pair of missives to quash competitors' outcry over the merger's impact on interactive television and instant messaging.

The FCC should consider the AT&T element, not in the ongoing merger proceedings but in the AT&T-MediaOne follow-up, the lawyers said.

The FCC has required AT&T to, among other things, divest its interest in the RoadRunner broadband ISP venture started originally by Time Warner and MediaOne.

The AOL-Time Warner lawyers go on to make the case that the merger will be a boon to cable telephony competition and broadband ISP competition.

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