The European Commission has sent out a formal set of objections to the proposed merger between America Online (AOL) and Time Warner and the linked merger between Time Warner and EMI.

In June the Commission announced that it would launch full four-month investigations into the competitive effects of the two mergers. The "statement of objections" circulated this week is a normal procedure within a full probe and will be followed in September by face-to-face hearings. The Commission is due to report on both deals in mid-October.

Spokesmen for Time Warner, AOL and EMI all said they were confident of being able to provide the EU regulator with the assurances it sought.

While the Commission did not reveal the content of the "statement" the companies did not hint at any new or surprise element. In June the Commission said it was concerned by the vertical integration of a leading internet supplier and a major content provider. The EMI concerns focused on digital delivery of music and music publishing. It has also said that it believes that a combined Time Warner-EMI would have its digital delivery position strengthened by a merger with AOL.