European Deal for NTL and AOL Time Warner?

LONDON — AOL Time Warner, the world’s largest media group, and NTL, the UK’s biggest cable operator, are in discussions over a European partnership.

AOL Time Warner already has business interests in a number of media sectors such as film, music, cable, and television. It has been reported that the group is now looking at broadband distribution, and has contacted NTL because it does not have its own cable networks in Europe.

NTL, on the other hand, has several networks, and a large customer base — 8.5 million subscribers in the UK, France, Switzerland, Germany and Sweden. Part of the deal would mean an exchange of exclusive AOL content for revenues from NTL’s customers.

Last month, AOL Time Warner said it would be looking into European expansion to raise international revenues from 17 to 50% over the next 10 years. European revenues were $4bn-$5bn last year out of a total of $36.2bn. A deal with the UK’s NTL could be the first of many.

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