Liberty Media Swings to Fourth-Quarter Profit

4:49 AM PST 02/28/2014 by Georg Szalai
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John Malone

UPDATED: CEO Greg Maffei says he still won't rule out a TWC acquisition for his company.

John Malone's Liberty Media on Friday said it swung to a fourth-quarter profit.

The company, which controls satellite radio firm Sirius XM Radio and owns stakes in various other firms, including 27.3 percent in cable operator Charter Communications, posted earnings of $189 million, compared with a year-ago loss of $60 million in the year-ago period.

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Quarterly revenue of $1 billion was up sharply as the company consolidated Sirius XM's results in the current quarter and also saw Starz excluded after the January spinoff of the premium TV firm.

Liberty also owns stakes in live events giant Live Nation and book store operator Barnes & Noble.

Said Liberty CEO Greg Maffei: "Sirius XM again posted record results for the fourth quarter and full year 2013." He added: "In January, we announced a proposal to acquire the rest of the Sirius XM equity not owned by Liberty. We believe this combination will simplify the capital structure, further align management and provide ultimate strategic and financial flexibility. We are responding to requests for information from the representatives of Sirius XM's special committee."

Liberty on Friday said that the value of its public holdings rose from $5.83 billion at the end of September to $6 billion at the end of 2013.

The value of its stake in Charter rose from $3.62 billion to $3.67 billion, while its holding in Live Nation was worth $1.05 billion at the end of 2013 from $990 million.

On a conference call after the earnings release, Maffei also said that Liberty won't take an acquisition of Time Warner Cable off the table. In January, Liberty was rebuffed by TWC's board only to see Comcast step up with a proposed $45.2 billion in stock acquisition of TWC.

Maffei noted that Comcast's share price has diminished since the announcement and said that while he believes that regulators will approve Comcast's bid, the conditions could be so onerous that the merger wouldn't go through.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

 

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