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John Malone's Liberty Global Fourth-Quarter Loss Narrows

Mike Fries Liberty Global CEO - P 2013
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Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries

UPDATED: The international cable operator lost video subscribers in the quarter and full year.

Liberty Global, the pan-European cable company controlled by John Malone, reported a narrowed fourth-quarter loss.

The loss of $121.2 million compared with a loss of $331.3 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose 71 percent to $4.47 billion, driven by the acquisition of U.K. cable giant Virgin Media and other companies. But the figure came in below analysts' expectations.

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The company added 1.3 million subscribers organically, meaning subscriber gains not driven by acquisitions, in 2013, including 413,000 in the fourth quarter.

Liberty Global ended 2013 with 24.5 million customers who took a total of 48.3 million subscription services. Those consisted of 21.8 million video, 14.4 million broadband and 12.1 million telephony subscriptions.

The company added 867,000 broadband users in 2013, including a record 270,000 in the fourth quarter, but lost 294,000 video subscribers, including 50,000 in the fourth quarter.

"We delivered our third consecutive year of more than 1 million organic subscriber additions," said Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries.

He also reiterated past comments that Liberty Global was looking at a spinoff of its Latin American operations, which contribute only a small percentage to its financials, but could consolidate competitors in the region.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai