Regulators request more details from AOL, Time Warner

Federal regulators ask the online giant and media titan to provide more information to help assess the affects of their proposed $138 billion merger.

WASHINGTON--Federal regulators asked America Online and Time Warner to provide more information to help assess the affects of their proposed $138 billion merger on the programming and Internet markets.

The Federal Communications Commission zeroed in on AOL's new AOLTV service, which combines email and interactive features with TV broadcasts, and the relationship it will have with video programming providers. It also continued to question the company on its relationship with satellite TV company DirecTV, in which the Web giant invested $1.5 billion.

It's the second time this month the FCC has asked the companies for additional information as part of the review of the combination. Such requests are common and aren't expected to slow the agency's review of the transaction. The Federal Trade Commission also is reviewing the merger.

In addition, the FCC today asked the companies for information on AOL services provided over high-speed DSL (digital subscriber line) used by phone companies, a competitor to fast cable modem service. It also asked the companies to provide information on any ownership stakes it has in other companies.

"We're pleased with how the regulatory review of our merger is proceeding and with the progress we are making working through the issues," said Kathy McKiernan, a spokeswoman for AOL. "This request is a normal part of the process leading up to the FCC's hearing on the merger."

The hearing is expected in late July.

AOL and Time Warner shareholders You've got Time Warner overwhelmingly approved the transaction today, and the companies expect to close the transaction in the fall.

The FCC previously asked for information related to AOL's instant messaging system and rivals' complaints that the company blocks their customers' messages.

Consumer groups have blasted the proposed combination of the online service provider and the entertainment company, saying it will "excessively concentrate" the cable TV and Internet markets. Consumers Union plans to announce a new legal challenge against the transaction Monday.

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