Liberty Media Corp. reported strong third-quarter operating results fueled by its recently acquired QVC Inc. home shopping channel but tempered in part by declines at its Starz Encore Group LLC premium unit.
Liberty reported revenue of $905 million, up 79% from the same period last year. That revenue growth was mainly due to the inclusion of QVC, which Liberty began consolidating Sept. 1. Without QVC’s $400 million in revenue in that month, revenue would have declined almost 4% to $505 million.
QVC had another stellar quarter, reporting a 14% increase in revenue to $1.15 billion and an increase in operating cash flow to $234 million. Liberty completed its purchase of the 56.5% of QVC it didn’t already own from Comcast Corp. in September for $7.9 billion.
At Discovery Communications Inc., which Liberty owns 50% of, revenue was up 20.3% to $474 million and operating cash flow improved 48.7% to $116 million.
Starz Encore, however, did not have as robust a quarter. Subscribers at the premium unit were flat sequentially. Revenue fell 10.7% to $217 million and operating cash flow dropped 27.3% to $72 million, mainly as a result of the resolution of its recent dispute with Comcast Corp.
As part of the settlement, Comcast will pay Starz based on per-subscriber rates, rather than a flat fee. Comcast has also agreed to actively market Starz Encore services.
Liberty president Dob Bennett downplayed speculation that the company is making moves to purchase Cox Communications Inc.’s 25% interest in DCI.
"Yes, we always are interested in owning more of Discovery. If [Cox] were to call us up, it certainly is a discussion we would be happy to have," Bennett said. "We don’t control what circumstance would bring them to that."