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Liberty Liberated From Time Warner Limits

Liberty can vote its shares or up its stake in Time Warner if it Chooses.

The Federal Trade Commission has set aside its earlier ruling that Liberty Media could own, but not vote, its shares of Time Warner stock.

The prohibition stems from Time Warner's 1996 purchase of Turner and its cable networks. TCI, which then owned Liberty, had a minority interest in Turner, and as a result it and Liberty got a 7.5% interest in Time Warner.

Competition Concerns were raised over the ownership overlap of Time Warner systems and cable nets and the effect on other cable nets' access to programming.

The FTC responded with the restrictions on the stock and on Liberty's ability to increase its stake. All were to have sunset in February 2007.

In February 2006, Liberty asked that the limits be lifted, pointing out that it had been spun off from TCI following that company's purchase of AT&T in 1999 and had not more connection to the Time Warner systems. It also said it had no "current" plans to acquire or invest in any cable TV systems.

The FTC agreed there had been material change in its condition and lifted the limits Thursday.