(Adds CEO's remarks from conference call, share price)
By Liana B. Baker
May 8 Liberty Media Corp is spinning
off its cable assets, including a stake in Charter
Communications Inc, into a new publicly traded company
called Liberty Broadband, the media holding company said on
"We believe a separate Liberty Broadband will offer
investors greater choice and transparency, and is well-timed
with Charter's agreements with Comcast, which will result in
Charter owning or serving over eight million video customers,"
Liberty Media Chief Executive Officer Greg Maffei said.
Maffei's boss, Liberty Media Chairman John Malone, is famous
for complicated stock structures designed to be tax-efficient.
The announcement came amid more clarity on Charter's
In a call with analysts to discuss Liberty Media's
first-quarter results, Maffei said Charter is a "natural
acquirer of pretty much any cable asset that gets sold." A
separate Liberty Broadband could help raise capital for Charter,
On April 28, Charter said it would pay Comcast $7.3 billion
for 1.4 million cable subscribers and trade about 1.6 million
subscribers in different parts of the country in a deal that
depends on regulatory approval of Comcast's takeover of Time
Warner Cable. Charter will also own one-third of a new cable
company to be spun off from Comcast.
Maffei said the spin-off would be completed by the end of
the year. It replaces a previous plan announced in March to
split up the cable media assets into new companies, Liberty
Broadband Group and Liberty Media Group.
The plan announced on Thursday will be a hard spin-off of
Liberty Broadband, similar to how Liberty spun off television
and movie channel Starz last year.
Liberty Broadband will house Liberty's stake in Charter
Communications, which was worth $3.31 billion as of March 31, as
well as investments in Time Warner Cable and the small
location technology company True Position Technologies Inc.
Liberty Media will continue to hold stakes in Sirius XM
and Live National Entertainment and remain the
owner of the Atlanta Braves baseball team.
Liberty Media announced on Thursday that its first-quarter
operating income before depreciation and amortization rose 12
percent to $294 million, compared to $262 million a year ago.
Its shares were up almost 1 percent at $131.40 in early
(Reporting by Liana B. Baker; Editing by Paul Simao)