Liberty, Sumitomo Form Japan Holding Co.


Liberty Media International Inc. stock reached a new 52-week high ($43.23 per share) Tuesday after the international cable arm of Liberty Media Corp. announced that it will form a holding company for its Japanese cable assets with partner Sumitomo Corp.

LMI stock closed at $43.06 Tuesday, up $1.21 per share, after it said it would contribute its 45% interest in Japanese cable operator Jupiter Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (J-COM) into a new holding company called LMI/Sumisho Super Media LLC. Sumitomo would contribute a 20% interest in J-COM to the holding company.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Analysts saw the move as a possible step toward an initial public offering for J-COM.

“This move may allow an IPO of a Japan-only trading vehicle that can be used as acquisition currency for the looming wave of potential consolidation that investors in [LMI] have already widely been expecting as part of the [LMI] growth story in Japan,”J.B. Hanauer & Co. analyst David Joyce wrote in a research note.

According to a press release, subject to certain conditions, Sumitomo is required to contribute substantially all of its remaining 12% ownership interest in J-COM to Super Media during the year following the closing date.

Super Media will be managed by a management committee consisting of two members, with LMI and Sumitomo each appointing one.