Liberty Media Posts Loss in COVID-19-Hit Fourth Quarter

John Malone
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John Malone

The company, led by CEO Greg Maffei and chairman John Malone, posts its latest financials that reveal the impact of the pandemic on its businesses.

Liberty Media — the company controlled by billionaire mogul John Malone that houses assets like audio entertainment giant SiriusXM, the Atlanta Braves baseball club and the Formula One racing circuit — has reported its fourth-quarter financials amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Fourth quarter revenue at SiriusXM rose slightly percent to $2.7 billion, compared to a year-earlier $2.61 billion. The Formula One Group, which completed 17 races during its latest season, posted overall revenue of $485 million, against $523 million in 2019.

The Atlanta Braves recorded virtually unchanged quarterly revenue at $35 million, and the Liberty SiriusXM Group saw revenue rise to $2.18 billion, compared to $2.06 billion in 2019.

Liberty Media saw its operating income swing to a loss of $603 million for the three months to Dec. 31, 2020, compared to a year-earlier profit of $302 million. The full-year net income was $131 million, against $914 million in 2019.

During the latest quarter, Liberty Media saw the 2020 F1 season and the Major League Baseball season delayed due to the pandemic, and Live Nation continues to see all large-scale live entertainment events suspended as it looks to alternative types of concerts and live events globally to offset lost revenue.

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei told analysts during a morning call that the F1 group balance sheet is "very, very strong at the operating level," and that the prestige race car series and the Atlanta Braves had "multiple sources of revenue," including broadcast and sponsorship and advertising.

"And Live Nation has advertising, but doesn't have the broadcast (revenue), so it's most responsive, or vulnerable to shutdowns that way," Maffei added.

John Malone told the company's annual shareholder meeting last May that Liberty Media continues to believe in the value of live events businesses, such as sports and Live Nation Entertainment, despite the novel coronavirus pandemic. And he argued any hit to valuations could present a buying opportunity.