Liberty Media Corp. (LMCA:US)’s Starz premium cable channel may be more valuable to another owner, Chief Executive Officer Greg Maffei said, signaling a possible sale of the network after a split planned for later this year.
Starz, with 20.7 million subscribers, would offer a media company that operates other premium cable channels synergies that don’t exist for Liberty Media, Maffei said yesterday at a Bank of America-sponsored investor conference in Beverly Hills, California.
Liberty, based in Englewood, Colorado, said on Aug. 8 that it planned to spin off all of its assets not associated with Starz LLC into a separate company by the end of this year. Starz, which competes with Time Warner Inc. (TWX:US)’s HBO, CBS Corp. (CBS:US)’s Showtime and Epix, owned by three movie studios, will have about $1.5 billion in debt and an undetermined amount of cash.
Liberty Chairman John Malone has used tracking stocks and financial transactions over the years to pursue tax benefits and make its diversified assets more attractive to shareholders. They included the separation of Liberty Interactive (LINTA:US), owner of the shopping network QVC.
The Class A tracking shares of Liberty Media fell 0.8 percent to $102.52 yesterday in New York. The company’s interests include stakes in the Atlanta Braves baseball team, Sirius XM Radio Inc. (SIRI:US) and Live Nation Entertainment Inc. (LYV:US)
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