Liberty Media to spin off entertainment business Starz

US media conglomerate Liberty Media Corp, controlled by billionaire John Malone, said yesterday that it planned to spin off the company's premium cable business Starz LLC, making it a separately traded company.

''We are pleased to announce our plan to separate the assets of Liberty Media and Starz, LLC, creating two separate asset-backed stocks," Liberty's president and CEO Greg Maffei said in a statement.

Englewood, Colorado-based Liberty Media owns interests in a broad range of media, communications and entertainment businesses. Its subsidiaries include premium home entertainment provider Starz LLC, Atlanta National League Baseball Club Inc, and location service provider True Positon Inc.

The company also has stakes in satellite radio service provider SiriusXM Radio Inc, concert firm Live Nation Entertainment Inc, book retailer Barnes & Noble Inc as well as minority interests in media and entertainment giants Time Warner Inc and Viacom.

Starz is a movie and entertainment service provider in the US offering 17 premium TV channels under Starz and Encore brands with a combined subscription of over 55 million, competing with HBO and Showtime. Starz airs over 1,000 movies and original series every month across its pay TV channels.

"This transaction will provide better transparency on the Starz operating business; optimise the Starz capital structure; permit us to better pursue our strategic objectives, including creating two currencies that could be used for acquisitions; and create significant liquidity at Liberty Media, which preserves all our options with respect to SiriusXM and Live Nation,'' Maffei said.