Report: SEC, Time Warner Near Deal on AOL

Time Warner Inc. (TWX) is close to a deal with U.S. regulators in which the world's largest media group would pay about $750 million to settle allegations of accounting irregularities at its America Online (search) division, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The proposed deal would cover all fines and penalties and other payment from Time Warner necessary to resolve U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (search) and Justice Department probes, the newspaper reported, citing sources familiar with the settlement talks.

However, it would not end ongoing SEC and Justice Department probes of various people who worked for America Online, according to the Post.

Spokesmen for Time Warner and the SEC could not be immediately reached for comment.

The $750 million figure is higher than the $500 million legal reserve Time Warner said earlier this month it had set up to cover accounting probes at America Online.

The SEC has been investigating Time Warner's accounting for its purchase of German media giant Bertelsmann AG's stake in an AOL Europe joint venture. AOL is also being investigated for how it booked advertising deals and the way it booked subscriber figures.

The Washington Post reported that settlement negotiations were continuing and while those involved were optimistic of reaching an agreement, the situation remains fluid.

For example, the final dollar figure agreed upon as part of the settlement could be somewhat higher or lower than $750 million, the newspaper said.