AOL Buying Time Warner — In a joint announcement on 10-Jan-00, America Online and Time Warner announced that AOL, the world’s largest Internet provider, will be buying Time Warner, the world’s largest media company, for $160 billion in stock. Appropriately enough, the deal is the largest corporate merger to date, and was announced exactly ten years after Time, Inc., merged with Warner Brothers to create what was then the world’s largest media conglomerate. The new company will be called AOL Time Warner and AOL shareholders will control 55 percent of the company. AOL’s Steve Case will serve as chairman of the board, while Time Warner’s Gerald Levin will serve as CEO. Although it’s too early to speculate about the long-term effects of this merger, it creates a monolithic, one-stop media empire combining a vast range of print publishing, news, film, and television properties with the Internet and interactive technologies. The deal will also enable AOL to provide online services via Time Warner’s cable television network, which reaches approximately 20 percent of homes in the U.S. [GD]
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