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Anchor Management

CNN tells ABC News the wedding is off. AOL Time Warner rules out the long-proposed cost-cutting merger of the two news operations

The two dissolved ''Bachelor'' twosomes aren't the only ABC-affiliated couples who will never make it to the altar. After nearly two years of negotiations, a proposed merger between ABC News and CNN is now off, both media outlets say. The news was made public, aptly enough, by host Lou Dobbs on CNN's ''Moneyline.''

AOL Time Warner, parent company of CNN (and EW.com) issued a statement Thursday that read, ''After careful review, it was determined that although there are great merits and possibilities to a merger of ABC and CNN news, for us, the potential problems associated with the completion of such a transaction and the integration of these two distinct and great cultures was more than we want to pursue at this time. We wish to thank everyone at the Walt Disney Co. and ABC News for their complete professionalism throughout this process.''

ABC responded to the decision with its own statement, saying, ''AOL Time Warner explained the circumstances in a very gracious statement they put out this afternoon. Clearly, both sides could see benefits to a merger, but circumstances beyond our control prevent that from going forward.''

The two newsgathering organizations had hoped that a merger would bring in $1.6 billion a year and save them a total of $100 million to $300 million in annual expenses. But ABC and CNN were ultimately unable to agree on who would be in charge and other logistical details, trade reports said.

Originally posted Feb 14, 2003
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