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Time Warner, EMI May Revive Merger

October 19, 2000|From Reuters

NEW YORK — Time Warner Inc. President Richard Parsons said Wednesday the merger deal between its Warner Music Group and Britain's EMI Group, which was withdrawn this month, has a 50% chance of being revived.

A deal would most likely take place before Jan. 31, the end of a period of exclusive negotiations between EMI and Warner Music, Parsons told reporters at a news conference.

The companies abandoned their plan to create the world's largest music group, which would have brought together artists such as the Beatles and Madonna, after tough negotiations with Europe's authorities.

Some industry watchers said the move helped Time Warner's merger with America Online Inc. get clearance from European regulators. It is still awaiting U.S. approvals.

"We still think intrinsically it's a solid deal but we simply ran out of time in Europe," Parsons said in a conference call following Time Warner's third-quarter results. "We are working with the EMI now to see if we can restructure the deal that is good for both of us and regulators."

Parsons, who will become co-chief operating officer of America Online-Time Warner, said the companies had worked out responses to regulators' queries and had arrived at something that would have worked, but the companies did not have time to make a test concession.

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