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America Online Inc. and Time Warner Inc. today announced a stock-for-stock merger valued at $350 billion. The new enterprise, to be named AOL Time Warner Inc. will create a $30 billion global company delivering information, entertainment and communications services across converging media platforms.
"This strategic combination accelerates the digital transformation of Time Warner by giving our creative and content businesses the widest possible canvas," says Gerald M. Levin, Time Warner's chairman and CEO, who will become CEO of the combined entity. The monster merger would give Time Warner--the nation's leading provider of media content such as movies, music and magazines--with a huge and powerful platform for reaching people online. AOL is the nation's largest online company with some 20 million subscribers.
The deal also gives AOL a key tool for distributing its services: access to Time Warner's large cable network system, the nation's second largest after AT&T;'s with 13 million cable subscribers. America Online shareholders would own 55% of the combined company, which will be called AOL Time Warner Inc. Time Warner shareholders will own the rest. AOL and Time Warner would each name half of the board of directors of the new company.
Separate from the merger transaction, AOL and Time Warner also announced new marketing, commerce, content and promotional agreements that will immediately expand various relationships already in place between the two companies. The merger announcement comes just four months after the announcement of a convergence deal involving CBS and Viacom.