AOL, Time Warner Shareholders Approve Merger - TheStreet

Shareholders of

America Online

(AOL)

and

Time Warner

(TWX)

strongly approved of a merger between the two companies Friday, showing growing support for the $124 billion combination of the two large media companies.

Meanwhile, the

Federal Communications Commission

late Friday afternoon demanded more information from the two companies as it reviews the merger.

About 97% of the votes cast by AOL shareholders in Tysons Corner, Va., supported the merger, and about 99% of Time Warner shareholders voted in New York City to approve it, according to the companies.

Ted Turner, whose Turner Broadcasting became part of Time Warner in 1996, was not present at the Time Warner vote -- a noticeable absence, since recent reports in the

Los Angeles Times

said Turner was unhappy with being left out of key AOL merger negotiations and was disappointed with his role in the new company.

While shareholder approval was expected, the combination of AOL, the No. 1 provider of online services, and Time Warner, the world's largest media company, still must gain regulatory approval in the U.S. and Europe.

The merger has come under increasing scrutiny as concerns have been raised by the

Justice Department

, the

European Commission

and commercial rivals that the combination could unduly reduce competition in the media market.

On Friday, the FCC requested information from AOL about its new interactive television service AOL-TV, agreements with

Hughes Electronics

(GMH)

and delivery of AOL service over direct subscriber line, satellite and wireless services. It asked whether people who use AOL-TV will have the ability to surf the Internet, what agreements it has with cable operators and what services it currently provides and plans to offer via AOL-TV.

The FCC also demanded information on Time Warner's cable system clusters and channels offered to consumers in sample markets, and details about any contracts with video programming networks.

Shares of AOL closed down 3 5/8, or 6%, at 52 7/8 in trading Friday. Time Warner was down 4 11/16, or 6%, at 76 15/16.

The merger between the two companies, announced Jan. 10, would combine AOL's online distribution systems with Time Warner's music, movie and magazine content.