John Malone made it official Monday: He wants to be John Malone all over again.

The chairman of Liberty Media ( L) -- which on Monday said it would spin off its international assets into a separate company called Liberty Media International -- explained to Wall Street why he plans to take LMI's helm as chief executive.

As Malone said on a conference call, he'd like to recreate on foreign soil the success of Tele-Communications Inc., the U.S. cable TV conglomerate that he built up in the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s. Created from the roll-up of numerous other operators of cable TV systems, TCI became the largest operator of cable TV systems in the U.S., and used its distribution power to make money in the development of new programming as well.

"We see the opportunity to build another TCI, perhaps a bit bigger," Malone said -- one that, based on euro- and yen-denominated businesses, would serve as an international hedge against the Malone family's dollar-based investments in the U.S., primarily its stake in Liberty.

Malone, who serves as chairman but not CEO of Liberty, plans to remain as Liberty's chairman after he takes LMI's CEO post. "My commitment to Liberty continues," Malone said. "It's the principal place where my family invests its wealth."

Malone says his new job reflects his long-standing interest in the international arena. "It's really not a huge change in the focus of my time," he said.

"The idea of building a large cable enterprise with its associated programming and technology assets is very appealing to me personally," he said.

It should be. TCI -- which Malone sold to AT&T ( T) and which subsequently was absorbed into the nation's current biggest cable operator, Comcast ( CMCSA) -- has served as a model for vertical integration among cable companies, with its ability to trade the privilege of distribution on TCI for stakes in numerous programming companies.

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