Liberty Media Spins Off Starz
The Chris Albrecht-led Starz business will become a stand-alone publicly traded company after Liberty Media said it will separate the operator of multiple pay-TV channels.
Albrecht, the former top HBO executive, has moved in recent years to emphasize original programming to go with movies at the flagship Starz network.
Liberty Media said the arrangement will allow both itself and Starz to pursue acquisitions, while allowing it to hone in on its interests in Sirius XM and Live Nation.
The stand-alone Starz will carry $1.5 billion in debt, while the spinoff is expected to be executed by the end of the year.
Starz will debut season two of the Kelsey Grammer-starring “Boss” this month, while “Spartacus” will end its run next year. A new “Da Vinci’s Demons” is scheduled for 2013, along with a second season of “Magic City.”
In the second quarter, Starz revenue was flat at $403 million. Revenue increases at the Starz channels operations were offset by drops at distribution and animation operations.
Increased programming expenses at Starz did lead to an 8% decline in OIBDA.
The Starz brand has about 21 million subscribers, while Encore has over 34 million. Both are up from the second quarter of 2011.