Liberty Media Third-Quarter Earnings Rise

Greg Maffei-Getty-H 2016
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The company, controlled by John Malone, addressed takeover speculation surrounding Charter Communications during an analyst call.

Liberty Media, the company controlled by billionaire mogul and chairman John Malone that houses such assets as satellite radio company SiriusXM Radio, the Atlanta Braves baseball club and the Formula One racing circuit, on Thursday reported its third-quarter financials.

Earnings came in at $168 million, up from $115 million in the year-ago period. Satellite radio giant SiriusXM Group posted earnings of $183 million, and the Liberty group housing the Atlanta Braves baseball team recorded earnings of $22 million, but the Formula One racing circuit posted a $37 million loss. 

Liberty Media president and CEO Greg Maffei also addressed during an analyst call merger and acquisition chatter around Charter Communications, which has been the subject of takeover speculation from wireless giants like Verizon, Altice and Sprint, which is controlled by SoftBank Corp. and CEO Masayoshi Son.

"We are capitalists here in Englewood, and Masa (Son) has a lot of capital. So if there's anything interesting to be done, we remain available," Maffei said. Reports in July 2017 first pointed to Sprint and Charter Communications discussing a potential merger in a complicated transaction that would leave SoftBank in control of the combined entity.

"I remain, and our whole management team, remain bullish on the prospects for Charter," Maffei said as he talked about increasing digital disruption in the video business and how that would shake out for cable and teleco players.

Formula One CEO Chase Carey during the call spoke at length about making the grand prix racing circuit more competitive and the economics of the sport fairer for its new parent and racing team owners.

Unveiling its latest results, Liberty media saw SiriusXM record an 11 percent gain in operating profit, while the company's Liberty Braves Group swung to an operating loss of $9 million from a year-ago profit of $1 million. Formula One, which the company didn't own in the year-ago period, posted a slightly wider operating loss of $17 million, compared with a year-ago loss of $16 million.

Liberty Media's third-quarter revenue rose to $2.07 billion from $1.39 billion, driven by gains at SiriusXM and the Braves and the addition of Formula One revenue.

Nov. 9, 3:00 p.m. Updated with comments by Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei made during an analyst call.