Liberty Media Corporation ( LINTA)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

November 8, 2011 11:15 am ET


Greg Maffei - President & CEO

Chris Shean - CFO

Chris Albrecht - CEO, Starz LLC


Doug Mitchelson - Deutsche Bank

James Ratcliffe - Barclays Capital

Brandon Ross - BTIG

Ben Mogil - Stifel Nicolaus

Tony Wible - Janney

Martin Pyykkonen - Wedge Partners

Barton Crockett - Lazard Capital Markets



Good day and welcome to the Liberty Media Corporation Quarterly Earnings Conference Call. Today's call is being recorded.

This call includes certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements about financial guidance, business strategies, market potential, future financial performance, new service and product launches and other materials that are not historical facts.

These forward-looking statements involve many risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements, including without limitation possible changes in market acceptance of new products or services, competitive issues, regulatory issues at continued access to capital on terms acceptable to Liberty Media.

These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this call, and Liberty Media expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to disseminate any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in Liberty Media’s expectations with regard thereto, or any change in events, conditions, or circumstances on which any statement is based.

On today’s call, we will discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures, including adjusted OIBDA. The required definitions and reconciliations, preliminary notes and schedules one through three can be found at the end of this presentation.

At this time, for opening remarks and introductions, I would like to turn the call over to the President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Greg Maffei. Please go ahead, sir.

Greg Maffei

Thank you, and good morning to all of you and thank you for joining us today and for your continued interest in the newly created Liberty Media.

Today, speaking on the call, I will have the Chris’s, our newly created CFO, Chris Shean; and Starz CEO, Chris Albrecht. Also available on the call we will have several other senior Liberty and Starz executives, all of us will be available to answer questions at the end.

Liberty Media was created by the split off, which was finally achieved on September 23rd, of Liberty Capital and Liberty Starz. Liberty Starz has one last quarter of attribution issues around Starz Media still affecting the numbers. Going forward, we will be clean. But looking at the business, we had strong subscriber growth at Starz, subs were up over 9%, and Encore subs were up over 3% over last year.

We also had strong revenue and adjusted OIBDA results. We gave you the new series Boss on the 21st of October to very positive revenues. I think it’s a great show, one I enjoy watching and I encourage you to look as well. And what many of you have been waiting for, we finally began repurchasing stock in Liberty Starz; we bought back $51 million worth or 807,000 shares through the 31st of October.

Looking at Liberty Capital, we made a strategic investment in Barnes & Noble, through a convertible preferred stock. That stock converts into about 16.6% common equity stake in Barnes & Nobel. It has a 7.75 quarterly dividend. We also took two Board seats at Barnes & Nobel and we are excited about the things they are doing. And so many of you yesterday saw the exciting announcements they made around two new nooks, an update to the color nook and an update to their lower NDE in greater both of which garnered very positive reviews.

During the quarter we also repurchased $169 million or 2.5 million shares of Liberty Capital.

Looking at some of our larger constituent investments, Sirius XM posted very strong results driven by an excellent operating performance. They ended the quarter with over 21.3 million subscribers. Adjusted EBIDTA at Sirius was up 16%. Free cash flow was up 22%, and they continued to reduce their financial leverage.

We also saw very good results at Live Nation, another of our investing companies. Adjusted operating income at Live Nation increased just about 7%. The concert AOI adjusted operating income increased about 35%. Free cash flow was almost up 5% and we saw some excellent and exciting continued innovation there. High facebook engagement, a dynamic pricing tool, they introduced, which is looks at the inventory and tried to maximize the value of it, for a venue owner, and a joint venture with Groupon, which in UK, is away to an attractive fashion, help make sure excess inventory is moved. All exciting and all very positive at Live Nation.

With that, let me turn over to Chris Shean to talk in more detail about our financial results.

Chris Shean

Thanks Greg. The results for Starz for the three months ended September 30th, 2011, include both the Legacy Starz Entertainment business, as well as the Legacy Starz Media business, as a result of the reattribution that took place on September 30th, of last year. So in order to have a better comparison we have also combined the historical periods, so that we have apples to apples for this discussion.

Starz LLC’s revenue decreased 2% to $389 million for the third quarter. This decrease is primarily due to a decrease in the number of theoretical films released on home video, a decrease in animation revenue, and no theoretical films released in 2011. That’s offset by higher effective rates and increased subscriber counts at the Starz channels.

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