Report: EU to Block Microsoft Control of Telewest

BERLIN (07/04/2000) - The European Commission (EC) plans to prevent Microsoft Corp. from taking partial control of U.K. cable operator Telewest Communications PLC, according to a Wall Street Journal Europe report.

The newspaper said Tuesday that a draft ruling by the EC recommends blocking the US$3 billion deal, which would give Microsoft joint control of Telewest, along with Liberty Media Corp.

EC spokeswoman Amelia Torres refused to confirm the report. "There is a draft decision which has been sent to the Advisory Committee of national competition experts," she said, "But I'm not allowed to say what the draft decision says."

She added that the EC has until August 4 to make a decision on the acquisition.

The Wall Street Journal said EC regulators are concerned Microsoft could end up with too large a market share for digital television software, used to control the set-top boxes Telewest manufactures.

Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at +1-425-882-8080 or on the Web at Telewest in Surrey, England, can be contacted at +44-1483-750-900, or at

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