Business Briefs

Feb 26, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Liberty cable value: $38.4 billion
In a prospectus for its planned split from AT&T Corp., Liberty Media Group values its cable television and program businesses at $38.4 billion. The spinoff, slated for this year, hinges on whether the Internet Revenue Service will allow the transaction without any tax consequences. Under the plan, each share of Liberty Media Class A and Class B tracking stock will be exchanged for one share of Class A or Class B common stock in the new Liberty Media Corp, which will be a stand-alone concern. No new shares of the stock will be issued. Liberty’s market value was determined to set the registration fee for the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Liberty spinoff is a critical part of AT&T’s overall break-up plan, which includes the complete spinoff of its wireless unit and the creation of a tracking stock, and the eventual complete spinoff of its cable and broadband unit.
On a related front, embattled AT&T Corp. Chairman and CEO C. Michael Armstrong apparently has said he wants to assume command of the AT&T Broadband operations once the AT&T break-up is completed in 2002. That would displace broadband President and CEO Dan Somers, AT&T’s one-time chief financial officer. The company and the executives declined comment on the speculation.
Turner, Litvack, Diller unload stock
AOL Time Warner said the decision by Ted Turner to sell 1 million shares of the company’s stock comes in response to his need to meet charitable contribution commitments. The sale of common shares by the newly merged company’s vice chairman and adviser raised $50 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. In September 1997, Mr. Turner pledged to give $1 billion in stock to the United Nations over a decade. It remains one of the largest individual charitable contributions of all time.
In other executive stock sales, Sanford Litvack, who resigned last year as vice chairman of The Walt Disney Co., filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell 550,000 shares of company stock for $18 million. He continues to advise Disney Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner on government and legal matters. A company spokesman said the sale was made by Mr. Litvack for financial and estate-planning purposes.
USA Networks Chairman and CEO Barry Diller exercised 1.8 million in stock options, the after-tax proceeds of which are being used to fund a private charitable foundation. Mr. Diller continues to hold about 50 million options and shares in USA Networks.
News Corp. selling $600 million in notes
News Corp. said it will sell $600 million in 20-year notes that holders can exchange for preferred shares or preferred American depositary receipts. The company will have the option of paying cash instead of stock to noteholders, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
The proceeds raised will be used “for general corporate purposes,” the company said. Australian-based News Corp. ADRs have lost more than 30 percent of their value during the past year and have been trading at $37 a share.