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Liberty Media Plans to Repurchase Up to $1 Billion in Stock

Liberty Media, a diversified media company with assets ranging from interactive commerce to cable television networks, said Wednesday it will repurchase up to $1 billion of stock.

The company controlled by cable television pioneer John Malone also said operating results at its QVC home shopping channel and Starz network rose in the fourth quarter.

Liberty Media said it expects to launch the share offer within the next week to repurchase Liberty Capital common stock at $105 a share to $115 a share, a premium of between 1.2% and 9% on Tuesday's closing price.

The company also plans to close in July on an agreement to exchange a 16.3% stake in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for a 38.5% stake in satellite broadcaster DirecTV Group, the nation's largest satellite television provider.

Liberty Media reports separate results and tracks stock separately for two divisions: Liberty Capital Group owns Starz Entertainment Group and would own the stake in DirecTV while Liberty Interactive Group includes QVC and interactive commerce.

Liberty Interactive reported QVC's fourth-quarter revenue rose 7% to $2.24 billion while its operating cash flow totaled $557 million, up 19%. Fourth-quarter revenue at Starz Entertainment was up 4% to $257 million.

Cathay Financial analyst Andrew Baker said profitability was better than expected at Liberty Interactive's QVC business. The company has generated free cash flow that can be used to buy back stock, he said.

Liberty Media has a variety of assets and interests in interactive and telecommunications businesses.