Liberty Media, the investment vehicle of American cable entrepreneur John Malone, is to spin off its non-US assets.

After pressure from Wall Street to simplify its manifold operations, the group will set up a new company called Liberty Media International, of which Malone will be the ceo. This will house cable interests in Europe, Japan and Latin America.

The announcement prompted talk of a sell-off to another media group. Given that Liberty raised its stake in News Corporation early this year [WAMN: 23-Jan-04], speculation focused on a deal with Rupert Murdoch -- and Malone did little to play down the rumours.

"There are assets that NewsCorp has that Liberty finds very attractive and wouldn't mind owning directly," he told analysts. "And perhaps there are assets that Liberty has that NewsCorp would find quite attractive over time."

Data sourced from: USA Today; additional content by WARC staff