Announced Actions for September 3, 2004

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Petition to reopen and modify final order: The Commission has received an application from Liberty Media Corporation (Liberty) requesting that the FTC reopen and modify the final order in the matter of Time Warner, Inc., et al. (Docket No. C-3709), as it applies to Liberty and its continuing ownership of Time Warner stock during the term of the order. Under the order, Liberty is prohibited from holding any ownership interest in Time Warner that is entitled to exercise voting power, with certain limited exceptions. To allow Liberty to continue to hold stock in Time Warner after the order became final, Time Warner created a special class of non-voting stock for Liberty, but that stock may not be held by any other shareholders. Liberty would like to lend some of its Time Warner stock to a financial institution to earn fees that will offset costs it is incurring elsewhere. As part of the stock loan, however, Liberty’s special non-voting stock would have to be converted to regular Time Warner voting stock as it is transferred to the borrower. Accordingly, in its petition, Liberty requests that the Commission reopen and modify the final order to allow it to lend the Time Warner stock in a way that involves the stock being converted to voting stock, provided that Liberty cannot direct, control, or influence the voting of any Time Warner stock during the period of the loan.

The Commission is accepting public comments on the petition for 30 days, until October 4, 2004, after which it will decide whether to approve it. Comments should be sent to FTCOffice of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20850. (Docket No. C-3709; the staff contact is Roberta Baruch, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2861; see press release dated September 12, 1996.)

Petition for Commission approval of proposed divestiture: The Commission has received a petition from Sanofi-Synthelabo (Sanofi) and Aventis requesting approval of a proposed divestiture per the terms of the final consent order (FTC File No. 041-0031) issued to address competition problems raised by Sanofi’s acquisition of Aventis. Under the terms of the decision and order in this matter, Sanofi was required to divest certain assets and royalty rights to ensure that competition was maintained following the consummation of the transaction. Through this petition, which can be found as a link to this press release on the FTC’s Web site, the companies have requested Commission approval to divest the “Estorra Royalties,” as that term is defined in the order, to Paul Royalty Fund II, L.P., a limited partnership under the control of Paul Capital Partners and PRF Sleep Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Paul Royalty Fund (collectively referred to as Paul Capital).

The Commission is accepting public comments on the petition for 30 days, until October 4, 2004, after which it will decide whether to approve it. Comments should be sent to FTC, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20850. (FTC File No. 041-0031; the staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2526; see press release dated July 28, 2004.)

Commission issuance of letters in response to state petitions: The FTC has issued letters to the Commissioner of the Illinois Office of Banks and Real Estate and the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities, and Health Care Administration in response to petitions each state submitted. The states submitted their petitions under Section 507 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), which provides that GLBA does not preempt state laws except to the extent that they are inconsistent with GLBA and the Commission has not determined that they provide greater protection than the federal law. The Illinois petition focuses on three state statutory provisions that apply to banks, savings and loans, and state savings banks. The Vermont petition seeks a determination regarding the Vermont Financial Privacy Act and three implementing regulations that apply to the banking, insurance, and securities industries.

In each of the letters responding to the petitions, the FTC states that the petition failed to reveal an inconsistency, and that therefore there was no reason to reach the “greater protection”analysis under GLBA. The letters and petitions are available on the FTC’s Web site as links to this press release. (FTC File No. 0023054; the staff contact is Jessica Rich, Division of Financial Practices, 202-326-3224.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC's Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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