Commission Approves Motion to Reopen and Set Aside Part of Liberty Media Final Order; FTC Approves Issuance of Ceiling Fan Labeling Rule Federal Register Notice

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Approval of motion to reopen and set aside final Commission order: The Commission has approved a motion from Liberty Media Corporation (Liberty) requesting that the FTC reopen and set aside 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, which addresses competitive concerns related to the integration of Time Warner programming services and cable systems with other cable systems in the United States, Liberty is prohibited from holding any ownership interest in Time Warner that is entitled to exercise voting power, with certain limited exceptions.

In its motion, Liberty stated that while the order is set to expire in less than a year, continuation of the order during that time – particularly its restrictions on Liberty’s ownership of voting stock in Time Warner – “has the potential to significantly disrupt the efficient operations of securities markets.” Liberty also asserted that it has not had any ownership interest in any U.S. cable system since 2001, nor has it any intention of acquiring such interests. Liberty argued that these changed circumstances mean that there is no continuing public interest served by the maintenance of the order provisions relating to Liberty, and that those provisions should therefore be set aside.

The Commission vote to reopen and set aside the order as it applies to Liberty was 4-0, with Commissioner William E. Kovacic recused. (Docket No. C-3709; the staff contact is Roberta S. Baruch, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2861; see press releases dated September 12, 1996, and February 24, 2006.)

Commission approval of Federal Register notice: The Commission has approved the publication of a Federal Register notice concerning proposed energy labeling requirements for ceiling fans. The notice will be published shortly and can be found on the Commission’s Web site as a link to this press release. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 directs the Commission to develop labels for the electricity used by ceiling fans. Under the proposed requirements, the labels will provide energy information to consumers when they shop for ceiling fans in stores and on the Internet. The proposed label would display: 1) airflow (i.e., fan strength); 2) electricity use in watts; and 3) airflow efficiency (i.e., the fan's electricity use compared to the amount of air it moves). The notice seeks public comment on the effectiveness of the proposed requirements and on alternative labeling approaches the Commission should consider. Comments must be received by September 8, 2006. The Commission vote authorizing the publication of the Federal Register notice was 5-0. (FTC File No. R611018; the staff contact is Hampton Newsome, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2889.)

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

Contact Information

Media Contact:
FTC Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2180