Alaskan cable operator GCI has scheduled a special meeting of shareholders on Feb. 2 to approve its merger with John Malone’s Liberty Interactive, a deal that will officially change the company’s name to GCI-Liberty.
The deal is a complicated one -- Liberty Interactive will buy GCI, but in a tax-free transaction will spin the cable company out to yet another Liberty tracking stock, Liberty Ventures. The deal will benefit Liberty Interactive by transforming it into an asset-based equity which would allow it to be included in major stock indices, and it creates a more robust currency for other deals and for management compensation. For GCI, it gets a big-pocketed backer and the resources to possibly roll up more cable companies across the country. It also is a bit of a homecoming for the Alaskan cabler, which was once part of Liberty’s former parent Tele-Communication Inc. (TCI)
Liberty has said it expected to close the deal in the first quarter of 2018.