AT&T Board Approves Liberty Spinoff

16 November 2000

The board of telecoms giant AT&T yesterday voted to spinoff its subsidiary Liberty Media Group as part of an extensive restructuring scheme.

Although the duo currently operate fairly autonomously, Liberty currently runs as a tracking stock of AT&T. The plan is to convert this into an asset-based security, allowing Liberty to launch as an independent company in Q2 next year.

Liberty, headed by John Malone, came under AT&T’s umbrella in 1998. However, Malone has become increasingly dissatisfied as his company’s investment in TV stations has been hampered by regulatory concerns arising from AT&T’s ownership of cable networks.

Independence for Liberty would also allow Malone to continue his support for Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Global Networks, a rival to AT&T’s cable interests.

The move could help AT&T satisfy federal requirements following its purchase of MediaOne Group. It has also been trying to dispose of its stake in Time Warner.

However, AT&T warned that “there can be no guarantee that the spinoff plan will be implemented or that changes in the plan will not be made”.

News source: Wall Street Journal