TW wants to swap Braves

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Time Warner is planning to sell the Atlanta Braves professional baseball team and a group of magazines to Liberty Media Corp., sources said Monday.

According to sources familiar with the negotiations, the deal, which must be approved by Major League Baseball, has Time Warner transferring the Braves, some magazines and $1 billion in cash to Liberty in exchange for about 60 million Time Warner shares, worth about $1.27 billion as of the close of trading Monday.

Liberty has about 170 million shares of Time Warner, equivalent to a stake of about 4% of the media conglomerate now, though that would be reduced to about 2.6% if the deal closes.

Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons signaled two weeks ago during a conference call with analysts to discuss the company's quarterly earnings that some sort of asset swap with Liberty was being discussed, though he declined to provide details.

Executives at Liberty did not return phone calls Monday and Time Warner executives declined comment.

Liberty also is in the midst of shedding shares of News Corp. The company said in December it intends to give its 16.3% stake in that conglomerate in exchange for News Corp's 38.5% share of DirecTV Group. News Corp. also will pay Liberty $550 million in cash and give Liberty three regional sports networks.
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