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Liberty Media 4Q revenue, profits fall

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 27, 2013 at 5:29 pm •  Published: February 27, 2013
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Liberty Media Corp., the holding company controlled by billionaire John Malone, said Wednesday that its revenue and profit plunged in the fourth quarter as it did not repeat a one-time bump in deferred revenue from the TruePosition mobile-technology business.

Revenue in the last three months of 2012 fell 52 percent to $467 million, while adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization fell 76 percent to $77 million.

The decreases were "primarily related to a one-time recognition of deferred revenue and costs at TruePosition in the prior year," the company said in a statement. TruePosition, a subsidiary that Liberty fully owns, develops technology to pinpoint the location of mobile devices.

The company didn't break out quarterly net income. For the entire year, net income increased 69 percent to $1.41 billion, from $836 million in 2011, boosted by payouts from its Starz premium pay TV channel subsidiary in advance of its spinoff in January.

Most of Liberty's revenue for the quarter came from Starz.

Revenue at Starz fell 2 percent to $423 million, partly because it did not renew an agreement to have its channel's movies and original TV shows such as "Spartacus" play on Netflix Inc.'s streaming service. Two weeks ago, Starz renewed a deal to keep Sony Pictures movies on the channel for films hitting theaters through 2021. That deal came two months after Starz lost Disney movies to Netflix for movies released in 2016 and beyond.

Adjusted OIBDA at Starz grew 10 percent to $102 million as it spent less on promoting its original TV shows and it played fewer movies in the so-called "first-run" window following their theatrical release compared with a year earlier. Playing fewer new movies typically means less money spent on licensing fees.

Starz increased the number of paying subscribers to 21.2 million from 19.6 million a year earlier. Subscribers to its offshoot Encore channel rose to 34.8 million from 33.2 million a year ago.

Liberty also increased its stake in satellite radio company Sirius XM Radio Inc. to above 50 percent in January after receiving clearance from the Federal Communications Commission. As a result, Sirius' results will be included in Liberty's quarterly earnings in the future.

The company also increased its stake in concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment Inc. to 27 percent.

Liberty Media shares rose 56 cents to close at $107.55 on Wednesday before the results were announced.

Shares of Starz, which completed its split from Liberty on Jan. 11, was unchanged in after-hours trading at $18.70. That's up 20 percent from the first day of trading following the split, when shares closed at $15.59.


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