Carphone-AOL deal gets EC OK


BRUSSELS -- Carphone Warehouse's purchase of Time Warner's AOL Internet access business in the U.K. was cleared Friday by the European Commission.

The all-cash £370 million ($688 million) deal will make the mobile phone retailer and telecommunications company Britain's third-largest broadband group. It also adds 1.5 million broadband customers to the company's existing base of 625,000.

The addition of AOL's customer base to its own will give Carphone an 18% share of the U.K. broadband market, behind BT Group's 20% share and cable group NTL's 26%.

The commission, the European Union's antitrust authority, said that, in areas where the parties activities overlap such as Internet access and fixed-line telephony services, the combined entity's market share "would not give rise to competition concerns as the new firm would continue to face effective competitive pressure from other market participants."