Liberty Media Corp. said it will issue up to $1.75 billion in bonds
convertible into AOL Time Warner Inc. stock -- a move that could raise money for
Liberty currently owns about 171 million shares of AOL Time Warner, worth
about $2 billion.
While Liberty said the proceeds of the offering would go toward general
corporate purposes, most observers believe the cash could be used for deals to
acquire DirecTV Inc., QVC Inc., or Vivendi Universal Entertainment.
The offering is expected to close March 26.
In a separate announcement, Liberty said its ongoing legal battle with
Comcast Corp. regarding the latter's dispute with Starz Encore Group LLC would
likely cost the premium-movie-channel programmer about $80 million in revenue
this year, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing
Comcast is seeking to reduce the fixed monthly fees it pays to carry Starz's
programming on former AT&T Broadband systems, arguing that prices should be
based on Comcast's agreement with Starz, which calls for fees based on the
number of subscribers to the channel.
Comcast acquired AT&T Broadband in November.