Liberty Media Corp. triggered a process to break up its partnership with Comcast Corp. in
home shopping giant QVC.
Comcast owns 58 percent of the network and manages it, but Liberty owns 42
The trigger is a little bit like the common "buy/sell" clause in partnership
The two sides have to appraise the network within 30 days.
Comcast gets first shot at deciding whether it wants to buy out Liberty.
If not, Liberty gets one month to decide whether it will buy out Comcast.
If neither side wants to buy, then they agree to make their best efforts to
sell 100 percent.
The network generated about $4.4 billion in sales last year, and it is worth
about $20 billion.
Liberty president Dobb Bennett said in December that he was likely to pull
the trigger, adding that if he can't own 100 percent of QVC, he may as well sell
The move comes when Comcast CEO Brian Roberts -- who loves the shopping
business -- is in a relatively weak position to buy it.
Comcast is loaded with debt from its takeover of AT&T Broadband, and
Roberts has said paring leverage is a high priority.