Liberty Media Corporation ( LSTZA)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

November 8, 2011 11:15 a.m. ET


Gregory Maffei – President, Chief Executive Officer

Christopher Shean – EVP, Chief Financial Officer

Chris Albrecht – President, CEO, Starz LLC


Doug Mitchelson – Deutsche Bank

James Ratcliffe – Barclays Capital

Brandon Ross – BTIG

Benjamin Mogil – Stifel Nicolaus

Tony Wible – Janney Capital Markets

Martin Pyykkonen – Wedge Partners

Barton Crockett – Lazard Capital Market



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 of our 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 involves 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 and market acceptance of new products or services, competitive issues, regulatory issues that continue to assess the 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 statement 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 such statement is based.

On today’s call we will discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures including adjusted or EBITDA. The required definitions and reconciliations, preliminary notes, and schedules one, two, three, can be found at the end of the presentation. At this time for open the remarks and introduction I would like to turn the call over to the President and Chief Executive Officer Mr. Greg Maffei. Please go ahead sir.

Gregory 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'll have Chris, who is our new lean created Chief Financial Officer, Christ Shean, and Starz CEO, Chris Albrecht. Also available on the call we'll 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 23 rd of Liberty Capital and Liberty Starz. Liberty Starz has one last quarter 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 or EBITDA results. We debuted a new series Boss on October 21 st to very positive reviews. I think it’s a great show, I enjoyed watching it 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 October 31 st. Looking at Liberty Capital we made a strategic investment in Barnes & Noble through a convertible preferred stock. That stock converts into about a 16.6% common equity stake in Barnes & Noble. It has a 7¾ quarterly dividend. We also took two board seats at Barnes & Noble and we are excited about the things they are doing. Many of you yesterday saw the exciting announcement they made around two new nooks, an update to the Color Nook and an update to their lower end E-Ink Reader both of which garnered very positive reviews.

During the quarter we also repurchased a $169 million or 2.5 million shares of Liberty Capital. Looking at some of our larger constituent investments SiriusXM posted very strong results driven by an excellent operating performance. They ended the quarter with over 21.3 million subscribers.

Adjusted EBITDA at Sirius was up 16%, free cash flow was up 22% and they continue to reduce their financial leverage. We also saw very good results at Live Nation, another of our investee companies. Adjusted operating income at Live Nation increased just about 7%. The concert AOI adjusted operating income increased about 35%. Free cash flow was up almost 5% and we saw some excellent and exciting continued innovation there. High Facebook engagement, dynamic pricing tool they introduced which is looks at the inventory and tries to maximize the value of it for a venue owner, and a joint venture with Groupon which is a way to in an attractive fashion help make sure excess inventory is moved. All exiting 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 30, 2011 include both the legacy at Starz entertainment business as well as the Legacy Starz Media business as a result of their reattribution that took place on September 30 th 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 theatrical films released on home video, a decrease in animation revenue and no theatrical films released in 2011 that’s offset by higher effective rates and increased subscriber counts at the Starz channels.

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