updated 11/9/2005 9:15:06 AM ET 2005-11-09T14:15:06

Liberty Media Corp. said Wednesday it had selected a departing Oracle Corp. executive to become its chief executive and reported a third-quarter loss, as higher expenses and losses from debt and other securities offset revenue growth.

The company, which owns cable networks QVC Inc. and Starz Entertainment Group as well as a large stake in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., said it had appointed Gregory B. Maffei as CEO-elect and that he will take over as CEO during the second quarter of 2006.

Last week, Oracle announced Maffei, 45, was leaving as its chief financial officer after just four months on the job at the business software maker. It said he planned to work for another company but did not identify it.

Maffei will replace cable tycoon John C. Malone as Liberty Media’s CEO although Malone will remain as chairman. Maffei will also become president, replacing Robert Bennett who had previously announced he is retiring. Maffei also becomes a Liberty director.

“I have known Greg for many years and have found him to be one of the most astute financial thinkers I have met,” Malone said in the announcement.

Maffei will remain with Oracle until Nov. 15 and then turn over the CFO duties to company co-President Safra Catz, a former investment banker who handled the job for 3 1/2 months earlier this year.

In its earnings report, Liberty posted a loss of $94 million, or 3 cents per share, down from earnings of $372 million, or 13 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue grew 13 percent to $1.85 billion from $1.63 billion last year, helped by growth in QVC’s domestic and international revenue, while revenue from Starz remained flat.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected break-even results on revenue of $1.86 billion.

Operating costs and expenses grew 13 percent to $1.67 billion, and the company posted a $332 million loss from certain financial instruments.

The company backed its 2005 guidance for revenue growth at a low double digit percentage for QVC, while expecting revenue between $1 billion and $1.05 billion at Starz.

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