Liberty Can Vote Time Warner Stake

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The Federal Trade Commission said Friday that it voted to set aside an earlier ruling that prevented John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp. from converting its stake in Time Warner Inc. to voting shares.

Liberty had asked the FTC in February to allow the company to convert its 4% stake in Time Warner to voting shares. Liberty acquired the nonvoting stock in 1997, as part of Time Warner’s purchase of Turner Broadcasting System Inc.

Because Liberty owned a big chunk of Turner stock -- and was then owned by Tele-Communications Inc., at the time the largest cable operator in the country -- Liberty was prohibited from converting it into voting shares for 10 years.

On Friday, the FTC said that it voted 4-0 to reopen and set aside an order that prevented Liberty from voting its stake in Time Warner. The decision means that Malone could have a bigger influence on Time Warner strategy.