Malone says to play it cool


Media stocks might be depressed amid the current financial crisis and economic worries, and private-equity buyers might have lost power amid the credit crunch, but John Malone sees little acquisition opportunity in the sector right now and also prefers to play it conservative.

"In the shortest run, one would be imprudent to set sail for a long-term strategy until we see how the current credit and economic cycle turns out," the Liberty Media chairman said Friday at his firm's Investor Day in Manhattan.

He added that though many sector stocks are down and possibly attractive for investors, the related companies often are not for sale at these low levels. "I'm not aware at the moment of businesses that could be bought cheap," Malone told the Wall Street crowd.

Malone again also downplayed the likelihood of a merger between satellite giant DirecTV, which Liberty controls, and Dish Network.

"I don't think it is worth either company's energy or effort" given that the regulatory environment hasn't changed much since a previous merger plan was struck down in Washington. He argued that telecom companies' video services hadn't become competitive enough so far.

However, Malone didn't rule out a possible merger down the line, saying in a year or after that, "anything crazy can happen." (partialdiff)