Liberty Media posts mixed Q4

Liberty Entertainment up, Liberty Interactive weaker

By Georg Szalai
NEW YORK - John Malone's Liberty Media reported fourth-quarter results for key businesses Wednesday.

Liberty Entertainment, which includes a stake in satellite TV giant DirecTV and Starz Entertainment, recorded a 26% revenue increase to $360 million in the fourth quarter.

Adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) rose 143% to $107 million.

The gains were driven by the acquisition of Liberty Sports Group in February and growth at
Starz Entertainment.

Liberty Entertainment is set to be spun off into a separate public company.
Starz Entertainment's fourth-quarter revenue increased 8% to $285 million, with adjusted OIBDA up 69% to $81 million. Higher rates and subscription units boosted results.

In the quarter, Starz Entertainment recorded a $1.24 billion goodwill impairment charge due to "current economic conditions and its effect on valuation multiples."
Starz and Encore, the two principal offerings of Starz Entertainment, saw average subscription unit increases of 7% and 8%, respectively, for the full year 2008.

Meanwhile, Liberty Interactive group's revenue decreased 4% to $2.38 billion in the fourth quarter. Adjusted OIBDA fell 21% to $432 million as the key QVC home shopping business continues to face economic challenges.

QVC's revenue dropped 8% in the fourth quarter to $2.14 billion. Adjusted OIBDA decreased 22% to $416 million.

Said Mike George, QVC president and CEO: "QVC's U.S. results were negatively impacted by deteriorating economic conditions, and the international business showed mixed results."