Lehman Likes Liberty Media

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Lehman Bros. analyst Vijay Jayant initiated coverage of Liberty Media Corp. with a "1-Overweight" rating, citing the Denver-based conglomerate's deliberate but gradual transition from a passive media investor to an active asset manager.

Jayant cited Liberty's acquisition of the remaining interest in cable-shopping channel QVC Inc., plans to reduce debt by $4.5 billion by year-end 2005 and the elimination of much of the Comcast Corp. overhang (resulting from the QVC purchase) as major pluses.

"While the stock lacks any transformational catalyst, we believe a gradual transition to an operating company and a simplification of the capital structure will result in improving equity value," Jayant wrote.

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