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Liberty’s Malone: Would Consider TW Stock Swap For AOL Access Business

Liberty Media (NSDQ: LINTA) Chairman John Malone, a maestro of the tax-efficient deal, said the company could be interested in swapping its stake in Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) — just under 3 percent at last reckoning — for the AOL access business. From Reuters: “Clearly an exit from the Time Warner equity state into a cash-generating asset would be attractive, but at the current time, none have been proposed that we could take action on… But we would continue to try and maintain the relationship with Jeff (Bewkes) and the Time Warner folks in the event that such a transaction would present itself.” Malone’s comments came during Liberty’s Q2 earnings call Monday morning. According to its last 10-Q, Liberty held $1.52 billion in TWX stock.

EarthLink has also expressed interested in the dial-up business, though it’s still not certain that Time Warner will ultimately choose to sell the unit.

WSJ (sub. req.): “Until now, Atlanta-based Earthlink Inc (NSDQ: ELNK). was seen as the most obvious contender for the dial-up business, which analysts value between $2 billion and $3 billion. Time Warner would be expected to seek more than that in any sale discussion.”