Liberty Media Posts Upbeat Q2 Earnings

Starz Entertainment, QVC help to drive results.
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Liberty Media, which has three of its businesses trading as separate tracking stocks, posted improved financial results in the second quarter, saying that its Starz Entertainment and QVC cable-network operations performed well.

“Several businesses, including DirecTV, Starz and our e-commerce companies, delivered excellent results," Liberty president and CEO Greg Maffei said in a statement. "We also continued our focus on balance-sheet management, taking advantage of market weakness to repurchase 18.1 million shares of Liberty Capital, reducing outstanding shares by 14%. DirecTV also continued its buyback, increasing our economic ownership to over 49%."

Revenue at its Starz Entertainment premium pay cable business rose 8% to $275 million and adjusted OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization), a cash-flow metric, soared 24% to $68 million for the three months ended June 30. Its flagship Starz channel service increased average subscribers 6% and Encore grew subscribers 11%.

"The number of subscribers to our channels continued to increase, and the Starz flagship channel finished first in total-day ratings among premium channels in 10 of the first 26 weeks of the year," Starz chairman and CEO Robert B. Clasen said in a statement. "In addition, we completed our first affiliate deal for StarzPlay, our broadband-movie service, with Verizon Communications.”

At shopping TV business QVC, revenue advanced 4% to $1.76 billion and adjusted OIBDA profit rose 4% to $387 million.

"The challenging economic environment continues. However, we are pleased with our disciplined approach to margin, expense and capital management," QVC president and CEO Mike George said in a statement.

Foreign operations bolstered results and there was some weakness domestically, where the product mix shifted to accessories from home and jewelry. Domestic unit shipments declined 4% to 27.6 million in the quarter while returns increased as a percentage of gross product revenue. But the average selling price of domestic shipments advanced 6% to $47.39 per order.