Liberty Media, CBS swap assets

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NEW YORK -- Liberty Media Corp. said Tuesday it has agreed to swap its shares in CBS Corp. in exchange for a TV station in Green Bay, Wis. and $170 million in cash.

Liberty's 7.6 million shares of CBS stock were equivalent to about 1% of the company. The deal values the Green Bay TV station at $64 million, the two companies said in an announcement.

David Flowers, Liberty Media's treasurer, said in a statement that the deal marked the latest step to make the Colorado-based company into a "focused operating company."

"We are continuing to convert passive investments into operating businesses," Flowers said.

The deal was approved unanimously by the boards of both companies but must still be approved by the Federal Communications Commission.

The share swap with CBS came a day after Liberty finalized a separate deal with Time Warner Inc., another media conglomerate, to acquire the Atlanta Braves baseball team plus cash in exchange for a block of Time Warner stock. That deal values the Braves at $450 million.

Late last year, Liberty reached another deal with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. media conglomerate to swap Liberty's 16% stake in that company for a controlling stake of 38% in the satellite TV broadcaster DirecTV Group Inc. plus three regional sports cable networks and $550 million in cash.

Liberty had long held stakes in a variety of other companies, leading investors to complain that the company was difficult to understand. In recent years, Liberty has been taking steps to streamline its structure, including splitting off its overseas businesses and distributing its 50% stake in Discovery Communications Inc. to shareholders.
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