We used to cover the cable TV industry, and one thing we learned was that John Malone, the so-called cable cowboy and pioneer, usually found a way to get what he wanted. And he wanted Time Warner Cable.
Malone, via Charter, in 2014 failed in his first bid to acquire Time Warner, and the news accounts at that time crowed that Brian Roberts, the head of media powerhouse Comcast Corp., had swooped in and outmaneuvered Malone.
But when federal regulators indicated they would not approve Comcast’s proposed purchase of Time Warner, Malone had the last laugh, using his cable company Charter to buy it.
What does this all have to do with home shopping?
On Tuesday QVC’s parent and a company chaired by Malone, Liberty Interactive Corp., announced that it was going to invest $2.4 billion in Liberty Broadband “in connection with (and contingent upon) the closing of today’s announced proposed merger of Charter Communications Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc.”
The press release said that proceeds of the investment will be used by Liberty Broadband to fund, in part, its agreement to acquire $4.3 billion of Charter stock.
Liberty Interactive’s investment in Liberty Broadband will be funded using cash on hand and will be attributed to the Liberty Ventures Group.
“We are excited for Liberty Interactive to make this attractive investment in Liberty Broadband, providing our shareholders with the unique opportunity to realize value from the proposed consolidation in the cable industry announced today by Charter,” Liberty President and CEO Greg Maffei said in a canned statement. “Through this transaction, Liberty Interactive has the ability to deploy a significant amount of capital and become a meaningful shareholder of Liberty Broadband.”
Liberty Interactive operates and owns interests in a broad range of digital commerce businesses currently attributed to two tracking stock groups: the QVC Group and the Liberty Ventures Group.
The businesses and assets included in the QVC Group are of QVC Inc., and its interest in HSN Inc.
The assets attributed to the Liberty Ventures Group include its interest in Expedia, Interval Leisure Group, Lending Tree and FTD, its subsidiaries Backcountry.com, Bodybuilding.com, CommerceHub, LMC Right Start and Evite, and minority interests in Time Warner and Time Warner Cable.