Liberty Media to Spin Off Starz

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Liberty Media Wednesday announced plans to spin off Starz LLC into a separate publicly traded company.

Executives said that spinoff would give investors a better view of Starz' operations while creating added liquidity at Liberty Media.

"The senior Starz team and I are very energized by the decision to make Starz its own independent company. I believe this stand-alone structure is the first step to unlocking the real potential growth opportunities for our businesses," said Starz CEO Chris Albrecht in a statement.

Albrecht said that the company's subscription businesses are running at quarterly highs, Starz achieving 20.7 million subscribers and Encore reaching 34.2 million at the end of the second quarter.

"We continue to add value to the networks with our investment in quality original programming," he said.

Starz' revenue remained unchanged at $403 million for the second quarter, according to Liberty Media's earnings announcement. An increase in revenue for the Starz Channels business was offset by decreases in revenue for the Starz Distribution and Starz Animation businesses.

According to the company, Liberty's board of directors authorized a plan to distribute to the stockholders of Liberty Media shares of a subsidiary that will hold all of the businesses, assets and liabilities of Liberty Media not associated with Starz, LLC. The subsidiary, which would become a separate public company, would be called Liberty Media Corporation, or "New Liberty." The businesses, assets and liabilities not included in New Liberty would be part of a separate public company called Starz. Starz will consist of 100% of Starz LLC, approximately $1.5 billion in debt (assuming full draw down of the Starz bank facility) and an undetermined amount of cash.

The spinoff is intended to be tax-free to stockholders of Liberty Media and its completion will be subject to various conditions, the company said. The spinoff will not require a stockholder vote and is currently expected to occur in late 2012.