Liberty Media 2Q sales up as QVC, Starz grow

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) ? Liberty Media Corp., the media conglomerate controlled by John Malone, said Tuesday that revenue and profits at its main two businesses ? shopping network QVC and the Starz pay TV channel ? both rose in the second quarter.

At Liberty Interactive group, the tracking stock to which QVC is attributed, revenue grew 9 percent to $2.2 billion and operating income grew 5 percent to $288 million. QVC revenue grew 8 percent to $1.9 billion, helped by domestic revenue growth of 3 percent and international revenue growth of 18 percent.

Revenue at Liberty Interactive’s eCommerce units such as Evite and BackCountry.com grew 18 percent to $347 million. Operating income rose 138 percent to $19 million.

At Liberty Starz group, whose tracking stock follows the performance of the Starz pay TV channel, revenue grew 5 percent to $403 million and operating income grew 160 percent to $112 million. The number of subscribers to Starz grew to 19 million from 17.3 million a year earlier. Encore pay TV channel subscribers grew to 32.9 million from 31.9 million.

At Liberty Capital, the tracking stock that follows the performance of various holdings, such as the company’s 18 percent stake in concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and 40 percent stake in Sirius XM Radio Inc., revenue fell 33 percent to $135 million while it cut its operating loss to $14 million from $83 million a year ago.

Most of the revenue loss at Liberty Capital came because of the shift in attribution of Starz Media, the production studio behind the original series “Spartacus,” to the Liberty Starz group on Sept. 30, 2010.

Malone is offering $1 billion, or $17 per share, for bookseller Barnes & Noble. If successful, the company would be attributed to Liberty Capital.

Liberty Media plans to split off the assets of its Liberty Capital and Liberty Starz tracking stocks into a new company, leaving the Liberty Interactive group as a more regular company with its own stock and assets.

Liberty Capital and Liberty Starz will remain tracking stocks in the new company, Liberty CapStarz Inc., which owns such businesses as the Atlanta Braves baseball team and the Starz pay TV channel.

The remaining company, Liberty Media, will contain the assets of its Liberty Interactive group, such as the shopping network QVC, and websites Backcountry.com, Bodybuilding.com and Expedia.

The company said it expects to complete the spin-off in the third quarter.

Liberty Interactive’s Class A shares, which trade under the ticker symbol LINTA, rose 98 cents, or 7.7 percent, to $13.66 in midday trading Tuesday. Liberty Starz’s Class A shares, which trade under the ticker symbol LSTZA, rose $2.90, or 4.3 percent, to $69.93. Liberty Capital’s Class A shares, which trade under the ticker symbol LCAPA, rose $3.96, or 6.2 percent, to $67.85.