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Liberty Media Q4 Revenue Down 52%

Liberty Media Corp. (LMCA, LMCB), the media holding company controlled by billionaire John Malone, on Wednesday reported a 91 percent plunge in operating income for the fourth quarter, while revenue fell by more than half.

The decrease in revenues were primarily related to a one-time recognition of deferred revenue and costs at technology company TruePosition in the prior year.

On January 11, 2013 Liberty Media was spun-off from Starz (STRZA, STRZB). The company received $1.2 billion in connection with the spin off.

The financial results as of December 31, 2012 include those of Starz. Liberty said it will present Starz as discontinued operations when reporting results in the first quarter of 2013.

Englewood, Colorado-based Liberty Media's fourth-quarter operating income was $25 million, down from $293 million in the year ago quarter. Revenues for the quarter fell 52 percent to $467 million from $973 million in the prior-year period. The company did not provide details of its quarterly net income.

Starz's revenue for the quarter declined 2 percent from the year-ago period to $423 million, primarily as a result of a decrease in Starz Distribution revenue due to fewer titles available from Weinstein Company and a decrease in revenue from Starz Networks primarily due to the non-renewal of an agreement with Netflix Inc. (NFLX).

Subscription units at Starz rose to 21.2 million in the quarter from 19.6 million in the prior-year period. Subscription units at Encore increased to 34.8 million from 33.2 million last year.

For fiscal 2012, Liberty Media's net income surged 69 percent to $1.41 billion from $836 million in the prior year. However, revenues declined 34 percent to $2.00 billion from $3.02 billion last year.

In mid-January, Liberty Media became the majority owner of satellite radio company Sirius XM Radio Inc. (SIRI).

Liberty Media also owns a 27 percent stake in Live Nation Entertainment Inc. (LYV). The company's other interests include its subsidiaries Atlanta National League Baseball Club, Inc. as well as TruePosition, Inc., and minority equity investments in Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS) and Time Warner Inc. (TWX).

Greg Maffei, President and CEO of Liberty Media said, "We were pleased to receive approval from the FCC for de jure control of SiriusXM and subsequently increased our ownership interest above 50%. SiriusXM again posted strong results and ended the year with almost 24 million subscribers. We increased our ownership stake in Live Nation and are encouraged by the growth in their ticket sales for 2013. At Barnes & Noble, we were pleased by the strategic investment by Pearson in NOOK Media."

LMCA closed Tuesday's trading at $107.55, up $0.56 or 0.52 percent on a volume of 739,836 shares.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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