US-headquartered Liberty Media has offered $447 million (€379m; £256m) to acquire Provide Commerce, an online retailer of meat, flowers and fruit.

The acquisition, to be completed towards the middle of 2006, is a bid by Liberty chairman John Malone to bolster his empire's position in ecommerce.

Liberty's stable includes the QVC home shopping network, cable offering Starz and Court TV and has stakes in online travel agent Expedia and IAC/InterActiveCorp, which operates a portfolio of internet brands.

Says Malone: "We believe in the power of video to drive television and web-based retailing businesses and Provide is a compelling addition to our strategy."

Liberty is also the owner of a near 19% stake in the News Corporation conglomerate, a situation causing much unease among the controlling Murdoch clan [WAMN 26-Sept-05].

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff