Cable pioneer John Malone, founder and chairman of US-headquartered Liberty Media, is considering a spinoff of the company's interactive businesses in a bid to boost shareholder value.

The move comes hot on the heels of Malone's appointment of former Oracle co-president and cfo Greg Maffei to the role of Liberty ceo.

Maffei's background in technology - he was previously cfo at Microsoft - meshes with Malone's vision of where the media industry is heading: "Greg is well-known and respected in the media and electronic-commerce industries and has extensive deal experience in these areas," he says.

The route towards a spinoff "in two to three years" will involve the QVC home shopping channel and IAC/InterActive. It will begin with the creation of a tracking stock to be known as Liberty Interactive.

The rump of the business, rechristened Liberty Capital, will include Malone's near 19% stake in News Corporation and the Starz Entertainment Group.

Malone's holding of NewsCorp voting stock continues to cause Rupert Murdoch and his family consternation and has led to shareholder outrage over the clan's 'poison pill' defense against Malone's feared predation [WAMN: 13-Oct-05].

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff