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Liberty to control the votes at OpenTV

Tue, 05/07/2002 - 8:00pm
Staff

MIH Limited is looking for a way out of its interest in OpenTV, and Liberty Media Corp. is happy to oblige. Liberty will fork over $185 million in cash and shares to snatch up a controlling interest in the iTV technology provider.

Under the terms of the deal, Liberty Media will acquire 365,460 Class A ordinary shares and 30.2 million Class B ordinary shares of OpenTV held by MIH for $185 million. Collectively, the shares collectively represent roughly 43 percent of the economic interest and 87 percent of the voting interest of OpenTV's ordinary shares as of April 30. By adding Liberty's shareholdings, Liberty's total economic interest in OpenTV is roughly 46 percent, and its voting interest is roughly 89 percent.

MIH says the stake sale will enable it to focus on its core business: subscriber platforms. The transaction will give MIH cash to fund future opportunities, according to the company.

Simultaneously, Liberty unveiled plans to form an interactive TV subsidiary, dubbed Liberty Broadband Interactive Television Inc. The goal of the unit is to foster the broadband interactive market through the development of interactive services and products for programmers and multi-channel video providers. . Liberty will own roughly 90 percent of LBIT. Peter Boylan has been named president, CEO and director of the unit.

"OpenTV enjoys the largest global interactive television footprint in the world with over 24 million homes utilizing its patent technology," Boylan said in a statement. LBIT intends to work closely with OpenTV to expand the products offered to programmers and multi-channel video providers, he said.

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