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Liberty Media, the company that is controlled by billionaire mogul John Malone and houses such assets as satellite radio company SiriusXM Radio, the Atlanta Braves baseball club and the Formula One racing circuit, on Wednesday reported higher second-quarter financials.
Earnings for the second quarter came in at $172 million, up from $94 million in the year-ago period, even though operating income fell from $422 million to $374 million.
SiriusXM recorded a 15 percent decline in operating profit to $333 million, while the company’s Liberty Braves Group’s operating profit dropped 82 percent to $6 million. Formula One swung to an operating profit of $35 million from a year-ago loss of $3 million.
The company’s second-quarter revenue rose 2.8 percent to $2.2 billion. Liberty Media president and CEO Greg Maffei told analysts during an afternoon call he was still interested in iHeartMedia, but was biding his time.
“We remain watchful. They’re going through their process, and while results have been somewhat disappointing, we do see the potential for interesting partnerships,” Maffei said. Liberty Media recently pulled a proposed deal to inject $1.16 billion into iHeartMedia.
The move followed iHeartMedia, which owns internet station iHeartRadio, rebuffing the proposed cash injection from Liberty Media in return for a 40 percent stake. iHeartMedia earlier sought bankruptcy protection as it deals with a debt pile of $20 billion, the legacy of a leveraged buyout in 2008.
Liberty Media offered to stave off a bankruptcy filing by injecting $1.16 billion into iHeart, but that proposed deal was rejected by iHeart creditors. Liberty Media continues to hold iHeartMedia debt.
“It has a strategic potential, but it’s one that we will be judicious about and only execute only if we can come up with the right transaction,” Maffei told analysts. Formula 1 boss Chase Carey told the call that negotiations with race team owners on a new Concorde Agreement were continuing with an eye to a longer-term partnership.
“I feel good about the discussions… People agree with the goals. People agree with the direction, the overall points of what we’re trying to achieve, and the vision for the sport,” he said. Chase added compromises from the parties involved would be required to finalize an agreement.
“There’s a shared objective to get it down,” possibly by the end of the year, he insisted. Chase also gave an update on plans by F1 to launch a live streaming offering. “We certainly expected and recognize a part of the reality this year is much more about getting the (over the top) product to where we want it, in content and tech,” he said.
Chase added the commercial launch of the OTT F1 product would likely take place next season.
Aug. 8, 10 a.m. Updated with comments by Liberty Media execs made during an analyst call.
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