TCI may spin off international and programming operations Cable company wants to boost sagging shares

December 05, 1996|By BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS

DENVER -- Tele-Communications Inc. said yesterday it may spin off its international and programming operations to shareholders in an effort to boost the value of its stock.

The nation's largest cable company said it may spin off its remaining 82 percent stake in Tele-Communications International Inc., its overseas cable and phone operations, to shareholders of Tele- Communications Inc. It may also spin off its programming arm, Liberty Media, to holders of Liberty Media stock, which is now a so-called tracking stock.

The announcement came after TCI Chairman John Malone met with the company's biggest investors and analysts earlier in the day. The cable TV company is trying to stem losses and reduce its $14.5 billion debt, while boosting its badly beaten-down stock.

"We have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize the value of the assets we have built; that includes investigating spinoff possibilities," said LaRae Marsik, a TCI spokeswoman.

The company's board will vote today on whether to submit a request to the Internal Revenue Service for a tax-free spinoff of the units. The moves are only under consideration at the moment, and any action is contingent on a favorable tax ruling from the IRS and shareholder approval, among other conditions.

Liberty Media had revenue of $1.03 billion and net earnings of $36 million in the first nine months of this year. Tele-Communications International had a net loss of $71 million on revenue of $137 million in the first six months of 1996.

TCI is in the process of spinning off its direct satellite television subsidiary, TCI Satellite Entertainment Inc. The stock is to start trading on its own this week.

The news was released after the close of stock market trading. TCI shares rose 12.5 cents to $14.125. The stock has fallen 29 percent so far this year.

Pub Date: 12/05/96

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