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AOL Time Warner Sees No Way For EMI Deal

AOL Time Warner Inc., the world’s largest Internet and media company, couldn’t figure out a way for its Warner Music Group unit to buy British rival EMI Group Plc, Co-Chief Operating Officer Richard Parsons said Wednesday.

EMI Group has been in talks about a merger with German entertainment giant Bertelsmann AG following the collapse in October of its deal with Warner Music.

Warner Music and EMI had abandoned their plan to create the world’s largest music group, bringing together artists like the Beatles and Madonna, after tough negotiations with European authorities. Although the companies had said they might explore alternatives, an exclusivity agreement ended Wednesday.

“In this regulatory environment

as attractive as a transaction as it was

we can’t figure out a way to get it done right now,” Parsons said at a press luncheon following the release of the company’s fourth-quarter results.

European authorities were concerned about several issues, including collective dominance.

Some analysts had said that the move helped America Online Inc.’s $106.2 billion purchase of Time Warner get clearance from European regulators.

Now industry sources say that deal between EMI and Bertelsmann would also face tough regulatory scrutiny.

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