Liberty Global Loses Fewer Pay TV Subscribers in Second Quarter

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Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries

"Our next-generation video platforms, which include elegant user interfaces, in-and-out of the home viewing capabilities and robust content lineups, continue resonating with consumers," said CEO Mike Fries.

John Malone's international cable operator Liberty Global Group on Monday reported improved operating profit and pay TV subscriber trends for the second quarter.

The company posted quarterly operating cash flow of $2.10 billion, down 9 percent, but operating income rose 32 percent to $641.9 million as its European business recorded a decline, more than offset by its Latin American unit swinging to a profit. 

Revenue dropped 10 percent from $5.07 billion to $4.58 billion, but rose 4 percent from $4.39 billion when excluding from the year-ago period the company's Dutch operations that are now being run in a joint venture with Vodafone.

The company’s European unit lost 16,100 video subscribers in the second quarter, compared with a 39,500-subscriber drop in the year-ago period. Its Latin American business added 6,300 video customers, down from 9,700 in the year-ago period.  

"During the first six months of the year, we added 406,000 revenue generating units across our European markets, including a 16 percent year-over-year improvement in Western Europe, underpinned by our strongest first-half video performance since 2006 and continued network expansion," said Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries. "Our next-generation video platforms, which include elegant user interfaces, in-and-out of the home viewing capabilities and robust content lineups, continue resonating with consumers, as we've added 1 million subscribers across Europe during the last 12 months."

Asked on the earnings call about his outlook for possible deals, Fries said the company will continue to look for possible acquisitions or divestitures, the latter mainly in markets where it feels it can't reach real scale. The exec said he expects private market values for any sales to come in above the public market values given a gap between the two.

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