Liberty International Down on Day One

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The first trading day for Liberty Media International Inc. was a down day for it and Liberty Media Corp., from which LMI spun off.

LMI series-A shares (NASDAQ symbol LBTYA) were trading at $37.06 apiece at about 4 p.m. (EST), down $1.44 (3.7%) from the stock’s price when it traded on a “when-issued” basis.

As expected, Liberty Media (L) also declined, by $1.92 (17%), to $9.28 per share at around the same time Tuesday.

Ted Henderson of Stifel Nicolaus Corp. began coverage of LMI with a “market outperform” rating and lowered Liberty to “market perform.”

“Given the three ways to invest with [Liberty chairman John] Malone, we recommend buying the operating businesses, letting the noise settle down and taking advantage of the uncertainty,” Henderson said in a note.

LMI contains such operating assets as 100% of Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico and stakes in cable operators in Japan, Europe and Central America.

Another way to “invest with Malone” via operating assets is through European MSO UnitedGlobalCom Inc. (UCOMA), 55%-owned by Liberty. It was down only 7 cents (0.9%) to $7.74 per share at 4 p.m.

Fulcrum Global Partners LLC’s Richard Greenfield started LMI with a “sell” rating based on such near-term issues as possible sales by Liberty owners (who received LMI stock in the spinoff), “as it is a very different vehicle than Liberty,” and possible confusion between LMI and UCOMA, as he estimated that UCOMA represents about one-half of LMI’s net asset value.

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