Liberty Media has set Jan. 11 as the effective date for its planned spin-off of its Starz premium channel, adding that the stock should begin trading on a when-issued basis beginning Jan. 10.
Liberty had announced its intention to separate its Starz assets in August.
Liberty said it plans to begin distributing shares in the new entities at 5 p.m. on Jan. 10, with shares trading on a when-issued basis on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbols “LMCAV” and “LMCBV” on Jan. 10 and Jan. 11. The distribution is expected to be completed as of 5 p.m. on Jan. 11.
Official trading will begin on Jan. 14 with the Starz entity trading under the symbols “STRZA” and “STRZB” and the Liberty entity under the symbols “LMCAD” and “LMCBD.” On Jan. 22, the Liberty entity will trade under the symbols “LMCA” and “LMCB.”
Essentially Liberty is spinning off its non-Starz assets into a separate entity tentatively called “Liberty Spinco” in which current Liberty shareholders will receive a dividend of one share of stock for every Liberty Media share they own. After that distribution, Liberty Media will change its name to Starz and Liberty Spinco will become Liberty Media.
The Starz entity will include 100% of the assets of Starz LLC, about $1.5 billion in debt and an undetermined amount of cash. Liberty Media will house all the non-Starz assets, such as the Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball team and location technology company TruePosition, interests in Sirius XM Radio, Barnes & Noble and Live Nation and minority equity investments in Time Warner Inc. and Viacom.
Speculation has run high that Starz, which has pumped a substantial amount of capital into original programming like Spartacus: War of the Damned, Davinci’s Demons and Magic City, could be an acquisition target after the spin-off is complete. Possible suitors include Home Box Office parent Time Warner Inc. and Showtime owner CBS, as well as Comcast, News Corp., Walt Disney Co. and Netflix.