Friday, December 14, 2012

What Does Liberty Media Want To Be?

What is the ultimate strategy for Liberty Media?  It acquires companies, it spins them off.  As a share owner, they spin off assets like dividends, on a regular basis.  Companies come into their business while others become separate stock holdings.  Among the pickups are Discovery, QVC, and Sirius.  But Liberty and its chairman don't mind letting go either.  The latest to be spun off into a separate stock is Starz.  "Liberty has reached out to media companies ahead of the expected mid-January spinoff of its pay-TV division, which includes the Starz and Encore channels, sources said."  So step one, spin off; step two, sale.

Liberty Media keeps busy in both content and distribution across the globe.  From positions in Sirius, Barnes & Noble, and more, Liberty at times looks more like a media holding company, without a particular focus in any one area of the business. For stockholders, value continues to grow from all this bit of horsetrading.  But is there enough focus in each of the core businesses?  Will Starz be better off with an owner more committed to its growth?  And with the acquisition of assets like Sirius and the loss of leadership, like Karmazin, can Liberty add incremental value?  Or is the future to once again acquire and then spin off?

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