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Liberty Media buys back shares

Mon, 12/06/2004 - 7:00pm
Peter Lauria

Copyright 2004 The Deal, L.L.C.

Daily Deal/The Deal

December 7, 2004 Tuesday

Liberty Media International, the unit that houses cable entrepreneur John Malone's European, Asian and Latin American assets, said Monday, Dec. 6, it was buying 3 million shares of its Series A common stock held by Comcast Corp. for about $128 million cash.

When LMI was spun off from Liberty Media Corp., Comcast received approximately 10.9 million shares of LMI common stock, about 5 million of which are subject to a 10-year variable forward agreement. Monday's deal reduces Philadelphia-based Comcast's ownership of LMI common stock to 2.7 million shares.

Comcast's interest in LMI stems from its July 2003 deal to sell its 57% stake in QVC Inc. to Liberty Media for $7.9 billion. Liberty funded a portion of that deal with 218 million shares. As a Liberty Media shareholder, Comcast was entitled to receive LMI shares upon its separation from its parent company.

Comcast, the nation's largest cable operator, has since disposed of its interest in Liberty Media. In December 2003, the company netted $894 million by entering into a forward sale agreement on 100 million Liberty Media shares with Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Morgan Stanley. This summer, Comcast exchanged its remaining shares in return for ownership of Liberty Media subsidiary Encore ICCP Inc.

That deal transferred Liberty Media's 10% stake in E! Entertainment Television, 100% ownership of the International Channel Networks, its TCI Music rights and $545 million cash to Comcast.

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