European Commission Approves Liberty Global’s Takeover Of UK’s Virgin Media

Liberty Global chairman John Malone is a step closer to facing off in the British cable biz with long-time frenemy Rupert Murdoch. European authorities today cleared Liberty’s $23.3B takeover of UK cable … Read More »

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Liberty Media’s John Malone Calls Pay TV Sports Prices “Unsustainable”: Video

By | Friday April 12, 2013 @ 10:01am PDT

The former King of Cable — who recently agreed to buy more than 27% of Charter Communications – has a bracing warning for companies such as Disney and News Corp that hope to keep raising prices for their sports programming. “You have an unsustainable model,” he told CNBC’s … Read More »

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Sirius XM Board Adds Discovery’s David Zaslav And John Malone’s Son, And Pays Mel Karmazin $11M

By | Wednesday April 10, 2013 @ 2:24pm PDT

Liberty Media Chairman John Malone‘s company controls Sirius XM, but he and Liberty General Counsel Charles Tanabe no longer want to sit on the satellite radio provider’s board, according to the Read More »

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Liberty Global To Pay $810M For Minority Stake In Major Dutch Cable Operator Ziggo

By | Thursday March 28, 2013 @ 4:14am PDT

In a further sign of John Malone’s increasing European cable ambitions, Liberty Global has acquired a 12.65% stake in Dutch operator Ziggo. It’s paying 632.5M euros ($810M) for the minority stake in the Netherlands’ biggest … Read More »

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UPDATE: Liberty Global To Acquire Virgin Media

By | Tuesday February 5, 2013 @ 5:21pm PST

UPDATE 5:21 PM: Liberty Global and Virgin Media confirmed late today that Liberty will acquire Virgin Media. Here’s the release:

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.–Liberty Global, Inc. (“Liberty Global”) (NASDAQ: LBTYA, LBTYB and LBTYK) and Virgin Media Inc. (“Virgin Media”) (NASDAQ: VMED; LSE: VMED) today announced that they have entered into

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Sirius XM Board Overhauled As Liberty Media Formally Takes Control

By | Tuesday January 22, 2013 @ 6:27am PST

Liberty Media Chairman John Malone just consolidated his power at the satellite radio company as four people friendly to his outlook joined the Sirius XM board replacing former CEO Mel Karmazin — who left last monthRead More »

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Liberty Media Makes Starz Spinoff Official

By | Tuesday January 8, 2013 @ 5:35pm PST

Liberty Media‘s John Malone is famous for constructing Rube Goldberg-like deals that enable him to avoid taxes, or avoid regulator scrutiny. And the just-announced arrangement to spin off Starz will do nothing to change that reputation. … Read More »

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John Malone Pays Barry Diller $300M For Controlling Stake In TripAdvisor

By | Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 7:23am PST

Here’s the latest sign that two of the media business’ most famous frenemies have put their squabbles behind them, at least for now. IAC chief Barry Diller stepped down as chairman and Senior Executive of the web’s top travel … Read More »

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UPDATE: John Malone Says Starz Could Be Taken Over After It Splits From Liberty

By | Wednesday October 10, 2012 @ 11:56am PDT

UPDATE, 11:56 AM: Liberty Media chairman John Malone finally took on the big question for Starz as his company prepares to spin it off: In a Q&A session at the end of Liberty’s Investor Day presentations, he indicated that once the premium cable network company is independent it likely will decide to sell itself to another company. “Everybody can use a big brother,” Malone says. “There are substantial synergies for Starz working together with various potential media partners. Certainly one of the opportunities is for [CEO Chris Albrecht] and the board to explore other relationships….Liberty can’t provide Starz with much in the way of operational synergies in the U.S.”

PREVIOUS, 10:52 AM: Starz’s new slogan is “Starz: Taking You Places,” CEO Chris Albrecht told Liberty Media investors today at the company’s annual gathering to review its holdings. Liberty CEO Greg Maffei says execs expect a spinoff to take place by year end. Read More »

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John Malone’s Liberty Global Offers $2.5B For Belgian Cable Operator Telenet

By | Thursday September 20, 2012 @ 3:53am PDT

John Malone’s international cable company, Liberty Global, already holds about 50% of Belgium’s largest cable operator. It is now offering $2.54B to acquire the remainder. In a statement, Liberty said it would pay 35 euros ($45.34) cash per share, a … Read More »

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Liberty Increases Sirius XM Stake To 48%

By | Tuesday August 14, 2012 @ 10:32pm PDT

John Malone’s Liberty Media has increased its stake in Sirius XM Radio to about 48% from 46.2%, the Wall Street Journal reported tonight. Liberty disclosed in an evening filing that it had … Read More »

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Sirius XM’s Mel Karmazin Hints He Might Be Willing To Work For John Malone

The satellite radio company CEO didn’t say that directly in a conference call with analysts this morning. But he sure left that impression after he was asked about the effort by Liberty Media Chairman John Malone — … Read More »

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Liberty’s John Malone Says Sirius XM Will Be Independent If He Takes Control

By | Thursday July 12, 2012 @ 11:35am PDT

Malone controls shares convertible into more than 40% of the satellite radio company stock — but he’s talking like Sirius XM will soon be his based on news coverage of his comments to reporters at Sun Valley. … Read More »

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Sirius XM Challenges Liberty Media Effort To Take “De Facto Control”

By | Saturday March 31, 2012 @ 3:32pm PDT

The only thing riskier than being an enemy of Liberty Media’s John Malone is to be his friend — as Sirius XM’s Mel Karmazin is discovering. They developed a corporate bromance in 2009 when Malone rescued the satellite radio company … Read More »

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Sirius XM Shares Defy Gravity As Investors Wonder Whether Liberty Might Take Over

The satellite radio company’s shares are up 11.4% since early Thursday while other NASDAQ stocks collectively are down 4.4%. What’s going on? Well, it seems that many analysts who attended Liberty Media’s annual dog-and-pony show for them on Thursday came away convinced that Sirius XM is preparing to see John Malone lift his company’s 40% stake well past 50%. He has to wait until March to avoid taking a tax hit on such a move — and we all know how much Malone hates to pay taxes. After that there’d be a tax advantage: Sirius has $8B in net operating losses that could be used to shelter future payments. That’s great now, although the losses “sucked” when the company was racking them up, CEO Mel Karmazin told Liberty investors at last week’s gathering. So, is Liberty interested in buying Sirius? A lot of comments that Liberty CEO Greg Maffei made last week sure make it sound that way. “There are few businesses that I have as much confidence in,” he said. ”Boy, it’s got a heck of a tail wind behind it. Find me another business” with as much opportunity. Sirius’ first consumer rate hike, coming in January,  ”is a great opportunity and there’s a potential for more…(Profit) margins will expand….It’s our kind of business.” He added that his company Read More »

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John Malone Ends Liberty Starz Tracking Stock And Ups Share Repurchases

This will give Liberty Media Chairman John Malone and other executives a lot to talk about later this morning at the company’s annual dog-and-pony show for investors. The decision to convert Liberty Starz and Liberty Capital from tracking stocks into a single asset-based stock should diminish the growing sense that Malone was fattening up Starz for a big deal — possibly a sale. The channel has been investing heavily in original programming, and Liberty Starz just unveiled a $1.5B credit facility. Janney Capital Markets analyst Tony Wible says that the Street “likely will be mixed in how it interprets the news” of the change in Liberty Starz’ status. Meanwhile, Liberty’s $1.25B stock repurchase “should help ease (investors’) concern.” And hope springs eternal: Miller Tabak analyst David Joyce says that “in time we would expect M&A activity with these assets to pick up again.”

Here’s the company’s release:

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Liberty Media Corporation (Nasdaq: LCAPA, LCAPB, LSTZA, LSTZB) (“Liberty”) today announced that its board of directors has unanimously voted to eliminate Liberty’s tracking stock structure by converting each share of its Liberty Starz common stock into 0.88129 of a share of the corresponding series of Liberty Capital common stock, effective at 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on November 28, 2011 (the “Conversion Date”). Cash will be paid in lieu of fractional shares.

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Does John Malone Have A Big Deal In Mind For Starz?

Analysts attending Liberty Media’s annual investor day on Thursday will be listening carefully when Starz CEO Chris Albrecht discusses his channel’s plans. His boss, Liberty Chairman John Malone, loves to buy, sell, and swap assets — as long as he can do so without paying a big tax bill. And there’s a growing belief that Malone is positioning Starz for a deal as the company focuses its branding efforts around more than 50 hours of original programs — including Boss, Magic City, Spartacus, and Da Vinci’s Demons — instead of theatrical films from Disney and Sony. For example, BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield says in a blog post today that “a transaction may…be coming to turn Starz into an asset based security” instead of just part of the Liberty Starz tracking stock. Janney Capital Markets’ Tony Wible says that Starz’ “strategic benefits could make it an M&A target.” Maxim Group’s John Tinker agrees that Starz “should be merged into a larger entity.”

Albrecht reinforced those views recently by talking up his desire to have the channel stand out as a premium service. On Friday he elaborated at the Monaco Media Forum on points he made earlier in the week on the Liberty earnings call: The channel scrapped its effort to negotiate a new streaming deal with Netflix because it didn’t set Starz apart from the video pack. Read More »

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UPDATE: Starz Looks For A Premium Streaming Service To Replace Netflix

UPDATE, 12: 00 PM: No word from Starz execs about when they might announce a digital streaming deal to replace the one with Netflix, which expires in February. “There are a lot of conversations going on,” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht told analysts today. “It’s a road that needs to be evaluated almost on a weekly basis.” The company hopes to license programs from its premium channel to a premium-priced streaming service – meaning, one that charges more than Netflix. As more companies enter the online video market “they’ll begin to segment and differentiate,” says Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei. “That’s something we would embrace.” Albrecht said that “we didn’t believe it was appropriate to have our products included in a low-cost service.” Do they really expect lots of consumers to pay high prices in this weak economy — especially with the anemic numbers cable and satellite companies are posting for premium channels? At Starz the 3Q sub figure was Read More »

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John Malone Becomes The No. 1 Land Owner, Passing Ted Turner

Ted Turner seems destined to be one-upped by his longtime ally, Liberty Media’s John Malone. First it was in media, where Malone remains a player long after Turner was pushed out of Time Warner. Now Malone has passed Turner … Read More »

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