AT&T to spin off Liberty Media
NEW YORK, Nov. 17 -- In order to comply with the Federal Communication Commission's conditions regarding AT&T's merger with MediaOne, now called AT&T Broadband, the company will spin off its previously acquired Liberty Media Group. The move comes on the heels of AT&T's plan to split itself into four separate companies. Liberty Media will become its own company sometime during the second quarter of 2001, said AT&T. The FCC calculated that AT&T and MediaOne serve about 42 percent of the cable market, which is a violation of a federal that says a single company can only control up to 30 percent of all subscribers.
By spinning off Liberty Media Group, which has interests in nearly 100 cable TV channels, including Discovery Communications, QVC, USA Networks and Black Entertainment Television, AT&T has a better chance to comply with FCC standards. New stock will be issued and exchanged for shares of Liberty Media tracking stock, provided the Internal Revenue Service rules it can do so tax-free, the company said. Liberty Media was acquired by AT&T as part of its 1998 purchase of cable provider Tele-Communications Inc.
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