AOL scraps CNN/ABC merger talks

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AOL Time Warner Inc. pulled out of negotiations to combine its Cable News
Network with ABC's news division, saying that it was "more than we wanted to
pursue at this time."

Jeff Bewkes, chairman of AOL's entertainment
and networks group, made the pronouncement at the company's retreat for senior
managers Thursday afternoon.

In a prepared statement, the company said, "It was
determined that although there are great merits and possibilities to a merger of
ABC and CNN news, for us, the potential problems associated with the completion
of such a transaction and the integration of these two distinct and great
cultures was more than we want to pursue at this time."

The potential efficiencies of combining the
24-hour cable network and a broadcast news operation are promising.

But the immediate operating nightmares and
long-term political infighting are certain.

Many inside and outside of the company doubted that the
years-long talks -- which had heated up in recent months -- would lead to a
merger.

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