01 February 2000

HISTORY WAS MADE as America Online slapped $163 billion (£101bn) on Time Warner's table, triggering the world's biggest takeover to date. Although officially billed as a merger, AOL is the dominant partner, with 55% of the combined company. AOL chairman and chief executive Steve Case grabs the chair of the new hybrid with TW's chairman Gerald Levin as chief executive. Ted Turner of CNN, a TW subsidiary, becomes vice chairman of the merged group.

Now known as AOL Time Warner, the new company is the world's seventh largest with a market capitalisa-tion of around $261bn. In aggregate it has some 100 million paying subscribers worldwide, including AOL's 18m members in the US where it claims 50% market share. The merger is expected to result in combined savings of $1bn in 2001.

The all-share deal, the first between an internet company and a traditional media owner, was described by AOL as 'the missing piece of each other's puzzle'. The merger, added the spoke would 'transform the landscape overnight'.