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Liberty Swings to Profit

John Malone's big media company surges past expectations.

John Malone's

Liberty Media

(L) - Get Report

posted higher revenue and swung to a profit in the first quarter.

The Englewood, Colo., company, whose assets include shopping network QVC, Discovery Networks and Starz Entertainment Group, said revenue was just shy of $2 billion for the quarter. Liberty earned $254 million, or 9 cents a share, reversing a year-ago loss of $10 million, or less than a penny a share.

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Thomson First Call analysts had pegged earnings at 2 cents per share on earnings of $1.98 billion.

Despite revenue gains at pay channel operator Starz Entertainment Group, where revenue rose to $254 million from $232 million, operating income fell by $17 million to $36 million. Subscription numbers were more promising, however, rising by 20 million.

Gains were largely driven by QVC. There, revenue rose to $1.46 billion from $1.28 billion. Operating income increased to $200 million from $153 million, as the unit's reach expanded both domestically and overseas.

Subscription units to pay channels operated by Starz Entertainment Group rose to 173.8 million from 154.3 million. Discovery Communications, which Liberty will spin off in the second quarter, saw income increase to $97 million from $78 million.

Liberty rose a dime Monday to $10.50.