Disney Wants AOL To Divest Assets

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Washington-The Walt Disney Co. has intensified its campaign against the merger between America Online Inc. and Time Warner Inc., calling on regulators to force the company to divest either cable systems or content.

In a July 11 letter to the Federal Communications Commission, Disney said AOL-Time Warner should not be allowed to control both content and conduit because dual ownership would provide the incentive to discriminate against content providers with no distribution facilities.

Disney said the now-defunct FCC rules that banned TV networks from owning primetime programs and their syndication rights were a precedent for such a move.

The company also cited the Supreme Court case that upheld a consent decree that banned the common ownership of movie studios and movie theaters.

Disney also forwarded to the FCC letters to Time Warner from Disney president and CEO Robert Iger and Disney Channel president Anne Sweeney regarding Disney's concerns about discrimination against its video and data services.

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