Liberty Capital battens financial hatches

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Liberty Media chairman John Malone traditionally likes debt leverage, but things have changed during the credit crunch and financial turmoil of recent months.

On Tuesday, the company's Liberty Media Capital arm touted recent steps that have reduced its debt and risk. It said it has used $503 million in cash to retire $750 million in debt, allowing it to reduce leverage at a discount to the debt's face value.

It also has done away with or reduced debt-risk exposure related to stakes in several companies. As part of that effort, Liberty Media Capital has sold its holding in hotel-room entertainment provider LodgeNet, reaping $41.4 million in cash.

"We are focused on balance-sheet management as well as providing greater transparency and clarity for our investors," Liberty Media president and CEO Greg Maffei said.

Liberty Media Capital shares rose 9% to $7.99 on Tuesday, giving the firm a market capitalization of $767.5 million, according to Yahoo Finance. (partialdiff)
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