For Your Information: December 7, 2001
The Commission has received two applications from America Online/Time Warner, Inc. (AOLTW) requesting approval of a non-affiliated Internet Service Provider (ISP) and alternative cable broadband service agreement. Pursuant to Paragraph II.A.2 of the decision and order finalized by the Commission on April 17, 2001 concerning AOL’s acquisition of Time Warner, Inc., in the first application, AOLTW has requested FTC approval of: 1) Big Net Holdings, Inc. (Big Net); and 2) the alternative cable broadband ISP service agreement entered into between Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Big Net. The agreement between TWC and Big Net covers all of TWC’s cable divisions.
In the second application, AOLTW has requested FTC approval of: 1) Global Systems, Inc. (GSI); and 2) the alternative cable broadband ISP service agreement entered into between Time Warner Cable (TWC) and GSI. The agreement between TWC and GSI covers TWC’s broadband ISP service in the Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington, North Carolina divisions, as well as the South Carolina division.
The FTC is accepting public comments on the proposed applications until December 14, 2001. Comments should be sent to: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. A public version of the applications can be found on the Commission's Web site at www.ftc.gov. (FTC File No. 001-0105; Docket No. C-3989; staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2526; see press releases dated November 9, 2000; December 14, 2000; February 26, 2001; April 18, 2001; September 28, 2001; October 4, 2001; October 19, 2001; October 30; November 13, 2001; November 20, 2001; and December 4, 2001.)
The FTC has received an application from Exxon Mobil Corporation (Exxon Mobil) requesting prior approval to supplement Appendix B of the Commission’s order relating to the merger of Exxon Corporation and Mobil Corporation. (The order was publicly announced on November 30, 1999.) Pursuant to Paragraph XII of the order, Exxon Mobil divested to BP Exploration & Oil Inc. (BP) the jet turbine oil business of Exxon Corporation, including the "sole and exclusive worldwide perpetual royalty-free license to practice in the field of jet turbine oils," the patents listed in Appendix B of the order. Paragraph XII.B.13. of the order requires that, within one year of the divestiture and subject to Commission approval, Exxon Mobil supplement Appendix B with certain additional patents at the request of the acquirer of the jet turbine oil business. Exxon claims that BP has requested that two additional U.S. patents (and their foreign equivalents) be included in Appendix B; Exxon is now seeking Commission approval of their inclusion.
The Commission is seeking public comment on the application for 30 days, until January 7, 2002. However, this may be modified, as the company has requested a waiver of this time period. Comments should be sent to the Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. (FTC File No. 991-0077; Docket No. C-3907; staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, 202-326-2526; see press releases dated November 30 and December 22, 1999; January 21, February 4, March 1, March 24, March 31, April 18, April 25, May 2, May 12, May 19, July 7, July 18, October 6, and December 19, 2000; and January 30, 2001.)
The Commission has approved amendments to Parts 3 and 4 of the FTC’s Regulations on Organization, Procedure and Rules of Practice (Rules of Practice). As detailed in a Federal Register notice to be published shortly and posted on the Commission’s Web site, the Commission is updating and making other technical corrections and changes to the Rules of Practice.
Rule 3.25 (c) is being amended to eliminate the suggestion that the Bureau Director is one of complaint "counsel." Rule 3.39 (a) is being amended to clarify the actual roles of Directors and Assistant Directors of the Bureaus and Regional Directors and Assistant Regional Directors for the Commission’s Regional Offices with respect to the issuance of orders requiring a witness to testify or provide information and granting immunity under Title 19, section 6002 of the United States Code. Rule 4.1 (a) (2) (ii) is being amended to correct certain typographical errors. Finally, pertinent subsections of Rules 4.8, 4.9, 4.11, and 4.13 are being amended to change the title of the official designated by the General Counsel to receive and process initial Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act requests.
The Commission vote to approve the amendments and publish the notice announcing them was 5-0. The changes will become effective immediately upon publication of the Federal Register notice. As the changes are procedural in nature and primarily affect internal operations, public comment is not required. (FTC File No. P859907; staff contact is Marianne Watts, Office of the General Counsel, 202-326-3074.)
The Commission has approved a request by complaint counsel in H.J. Heinz Company, et al. to dismiss a Part III administrative complaint against the company that was issued by the FTC on November 22, 2000. This matter concerns the proposed (and subsequently abandoned) merger of H.J. Heinz Company and Milnot Holding Company, the owner of Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation, the nation’s second and third largest manufacturers of jarred baby food, respectively. In July 2000 the Commission authorized staff to seek a preliminary injunction of the merger pending the filing of an administrative complaint, contending that the transaction would violate U.S. antitrust laws and illegally reduce competition in the market for jarred baby food. The complaint seeking injunction was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which denied the FTC’s request. The FTC then sought an emergency stay from the Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit. On November 8, 2000, the Court of Appeals enjoined the transaction, pending its ruling on the Commission’s appeal. The court subsequently ruled in favor of the Commission, and the parties abandoned the transaction. Accordingly, the Commission has determined that further proceedings are not in the public interest.
The Commission vote to grant complaint counsel's motion to dismiss the Part III complaint was 4-0, with Chairman Timothy J. Muris recused. (Docket No. D09295; staff contact is Richard B. Dagen, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2628; see press releases dated July 7, November 8, and November 28, 2000.)
Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC's Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.