John Malone's Liberty Media Third-Quarter Financials Improve

John Malone
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Premium TV unit Starz, which is set to be spun off at the end of the year, reported new subscriber records and higher revenue.

John Malone's Liberty Media on Tuesday reported higher third-quarter financials as its Starz unit continued to sign up new subscribers.

Net earnings of $1 billion compared with a year-ago loss of $42 million as the company benefited from a $1.28 billion share of earnings of affiliates, well ahead of the year-ago figure of $53 million. Liberty's operating profit was unchanged at $111 million. Revenue of $555 million compared with $540 million in the year-ago period.

Starz, which Liberty plans to spin off, recorded revenue of $400 million, up 3 percent from the same period a year earlier. Revenue increased for the Starz distribution business and remained flat at the Starz channels and Starz animation businesses. Starz's adjusted OIBDA rose 1 percent to $108 million, but operating profit dropped 2 percent.

The company said it was on track for a separation by the end of the year.

Starz and Encore subscriptions increased by 9 percent and 5 percent, respectively, in the third quarter.

Said Starz CEO Chris Albrecht: "As Starz prepares for the upcoming separation from Liberty Media, we are pleased with the investments we have made in quality original programming. The combination of epic originals and terrific theatrical film product helped propel us to yet another set of record highs for Starz and Encore subscribers in the third quarter with 20.8 million and 34.3 million, respectively."

Separately, Liberty Interactive Group on Tuesday posted a 3 percent revenue increase to $2.2 billion for the third quarter. Its operating profit decreased 14 percent to $193 million, and its net loss widened from $19 million to $41 million.

Liberty Interactive's core home shopping network QVC saw revenue climb 2 percent to $1.9 billion and operating profit rise 11 percent to $260 million.

Twitter: @georgszalai