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Liberty Media announced yesterday that it had bought 78.3 million shares of DirecTV to increase its ownership stake in the satellite video provider to 48 percent.

To fund the purchase, Liberty borrowed $1.98 billion against a newly executed equity collar on 110 million DirecTV common shares. The equity collar is a series of puts and calls, with maturities ranging up to 4.4 years.

"These transactions reaffirm our belief in DirecTV, the quality of its service, and the performance of Chase Carey and his management team," said Greg Maffei, Liberty's president and CEO. "The additional shares and equity collar each increase our exposure to DirecTV’s equity and further align Liberty's interests with those of the DirecTV shareholders."

The purchases, collars and loan were executed through a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty and attributed to the Liberty Entertainment tracking stock group.

In February, Liberty Media acquired a 41 percent stake in DirecTV by exchanging it for a 16 percent stake in News Corp., as well as $625 million in cash (story here).

DirecTV is the nation’s largest satellite provider with about 16 million subscribers, and the deal gives Liberty Media founder John Malone his first domestic presence since the selloff of TCI to AT&T in 1999.

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