Liberty Media properties mixed for Q3

QVC down, but Liberty Entertainment up

John Malone said Thursday that, after selling $49.5 million worth of Liberty Capital shares to ease concerns over family debt, he has no need to continue selling.

The issue was raised during a conference call with analysts to discuss Liberty Media's third-quarter financial results. Top executives at other companies have hurt shareholders by having to dump stock to meet margin calls.

"We hated to sell," Malone said. "We just got squeezed."

Liberty Media also yanked forecasts for its Liberty Interactive unit due to uncertain financial conditions that have already hurt its QVC business.

QVC's revenue declined 3% year-over-year to $1.64 billion, and its operating income before depreciation and amortization, known as OIBDA, dropped 14% to $312 million.

Liberty Entertainment, home to the Starz Entertainment pay-TV network, saw its revenue rise 21%. Starz revenue dropped 1% to $278 million, but after adjusting for a one-time event, revenue there rose 5%. OIBDA fell 11% to $78 million.

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei specifically talked up the "Wow! Wow! Wubbzy" franchise and "Crash" TV series, as well as the upcoming shows "Spartacus" and "Party Down," both of which will be produced by Starz Media.

But shopping channel QVC -- which Maffei said "obviously is a concern to all of us" -- dominated the discussion Thursday thanks to the economic downturn that has spooked shoppers.

Maffei stressed, though, that the business "is not going away" and "not permanently impaired."

He even wondered aloud why stock in LIberty Media Interactive, down 23% Thursday to a 52-week low $4.90, has been suffering more than competitors.

Meanwhile, shares of Liberty Media fell 5.7% to $15.64 while Liberty Media Capital dropped fractionally to $6.83.
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