Washington Mutual Inc. won what could be the decisive battle in its bid to acquire Great Western Financial Corp. late Tuesday when the Securities and Exchange Commission cleared the thrifts to mail proxy materials in time for a June 13 vote.

Hostile suitor H.F. Ahmanson & Co. will ask a Delaware court to delay the vote for six weeks. But analysts say time may be running out for the Irwindale, Calif., thrift, which triggered the bidding war by making a hostile offer for Great Western in February.

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