Liberty Media Creates Three Tracking Stocks Designed To Help Raise Cash

John Malone

Liberty Media Chairman John Malone loves to push the peas around the plate when it comes to the stocks he sells. Liberty just unveiled a plan to reclassify its shares into three new tracking stocks, ahead of its Investor Day presentations today. The moves are designed to help the company raise capital.

Liberty is up 4.8% in pre-market trading following the announcement.

Tracking stocks give investors an opportunity to buy and sell shares that reflect the operations of particular businesses, but don’t give the shareholders ownership rights.

In this case, Liberty Braves Group will reflect the company’s interest in baseball’s Atlanta Braves along with its stadium and related real estate developments. Liberty Sirius Group would report on Liberty’s ownership stake in SiriusXM. And other holdings — including investments in Live Nation, Time Warner and Viacom —  would be shown Liberty Media Group.

“We expect this recapitalization to highlight each tracking stock group’s operations, and the financial performance of its attributed assets, provide greater investor choice, and enable targeted capital raising while maintaining an optimal capital structure for Liberty,” CEO Greg Maffei says.

The tracking stocks will go to owners of Liberty’s Series A, Series B and Series C common stock. Dates for the stock issues, and distribution ratios, will be announced “at a later date,” Liberty says.

When all’s said and done, there will be nine different stocks trading on NASDAQ: Series A, B, and C shares for each of the three tracking stocks. This doesn’t affect other Liberty-related stocks including Liberty Interactive and Liberty Ventures Group.

Liberty says it expects the new tracking stocks to begin trading in the first half of 2016.

Earlier this week Discovery Communications and Liberty Global — two companies that have Malone as the dominant shareholder — said that they each bought a 3.4% stake in Lionsgate. Malone has 3% of the studio, and sits on its board.

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