It’s taken years to unravel the tracking stocks and ownerships stemming from Liberty Media (NSDQ: LINTA), but the new, more-than-a satellite-company DirecTV (NYSE: DTV) is ready for its debut following shareholder votes combining it with Liberty Entertainment. The fine points of a deal involving John Malone are, as usual, complex but leave him as a key shareholder and chairman of DirecTV — and leave the company, which now includes three regional sports nets, the Game Show Network, and FUN Technologies. (Liberty’s release; DirecTV release.) It’s also more protected from unwanted third-party acquisitions — and in better shape to mesh with the right company, AT&T (NYSE: T) or Verizon (NYSE: VZ), for instance.
While Malone didn’t express a preference for either, he did tell shareholders that the combined Liberty Entertainment and DirecTV would be “compatible” with a telco, Reuters reported. Mainly, Malone wants the satellite company to have the ability to offer high speed internet services. That’s the kind of service that DirecTV can’t do on its own and Malone acknowledges he needs a telco to provide the system.
Looking over the respective shareholder actions, adding Liberty Entertainment helps DirecTV avoid being taxed on a $12 billion if the satellite company were put up for sale on its own. The new company will take some hits. DirecTV takes on $2 billion in debt and an estimated expense of about $400 million, which includes the cost of the premium to Liberty Entertainment shareholders holders and the cost of transaction.