Yahoo Sale Not Front and Center to Liberty Media, Maffei Says

Yahoo Sale Not Front and Center to Liberty: CEO Maffei
  • `Subscription businesses' like Sirius XM, Charter remain focus
  • No plans to sell Atlanta Braves despite tracking stock

Liberty Media Corp. is focused on subscription-based companies like satellite-radio provider Sirius XM Holdings Inc. and cable operator Charter Communications Inc., and the ongoing speculation about what’s next for Yahoo! Inc. isn’t “front and center,” Chief Executive Officer Greg Maffei said.

“We are focused on subscription businesses,” Maffei said in an interview on Bloomberg TV Wednesday. “Those are businesses Liberty understands better.”

Yahoo! on Wednesday scrapped its long-planned spinoff of shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. amid mounting pressure from investors concerned about the tax risks of the deal. Instead, the Web portal will consider a plan to package all of its other assets into a new publicly traded company.

Among potential suitors, Verizon Communications Inc. CEO Lowell McAdam said he would consider a deal with Yahoo! Inc. if the tech company’s board decides to sell it.

Liberty Media, which is controlled by cable magnate John Malone and holds interests in companies ranging from Time Warner Inc. to concert-promoter Live Nation Entertainment Inc., last month announced the creation of tracking stocks for the Atlanta Braves baseball team and Sirius XM, creating pure-play investments for those assets.

“The team has grown over time, the value of all baseball teams has grown,” Maffei said.

The Braves were worth $760 million in October 2013, or 17th among Major League Baseball’s 30 franchises, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. That valuation represented the team’s stake in MLB Advanced Media and the value of its baseball-related activity.

Maffei said earlier this week at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference that he hopes to “dramatically” increase the team’s revenue with the stadium, SunTrust Park, that is slated to open in 2017.

“The management of the Braves has done a great job with the new stadium and new TV contract,” he said on Bloomberg TV.

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