Consumer Groups to Protest AOL-Time Warner Deal

SAN FRANCISCO (04/25/2000) - Consumer groups in the U.S. plan to petition the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FCC) tomorrow in a bid to block America Online Inc.'s proposed merger with Time Warner Inc. on the grounds that the deal would be harmful to consumers.

Representatives from Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports magazine, along with Center for Media Education, Consumer Federation of America and Media Access Project plan to hold a press conference tomorrow morning in Washington, D.C., where they will outline their objections to the merger.

The consumer groups' petition to the FCC includes a critique of the planned merger, including an analysis of public statements made by AOL and Time Warner about their plans to keep their cable networks open to competitors. The petition also explores what the consumer groups see as "potential conflicts of ownership, given the relationship between the partners and AT&T," Consumer Union said in a statement today.

AOL and Time Warner announced their plan to merge in January in an all-stock transaction valued at the time at US$350 billion. In the first year of the merger, the combined company would have revenues of about $40 billion and a global subscriber base of more than 100 million, company officials said at the time. [See "UPDATE2: AOL to Merge with Time Warner for US$350B," Jan. 10.]Tomorrow's press conference will take place at 11 a.m. EDT at the Consumers Union's Washington, D.C., office.

Consumers Union, in Washington, D.C., can be contacted at +1-202-462-6262, and on the Web at

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