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Liberty Media to spin off Ascent, Discovery

/ Source: The Associated Press

Liberty Media Corp., which owns stakes in several cable TV channels and other media companies, plans to spin off its Ascent Media Group Inc. unit and its 50 percent stake in Discovery Communications Inc. to shareholders.

Liberty Media said Tuesday it will transfer these two assets into a new publicly traded group called Discovery Holding Co.

Discovery Communications, based in Silver Spring, Md., owns the Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, Travel Channel and Animal Planet. Cox Communications and Advance/Newhouse Communications also each own 25 percent of the company.

Ascent Media Group Inc., formerly known as Liberty Livewire, provides post-production services to film and television producers. It's based in Santa Monica, Calif.

Liberty Media shareholders will receive 0.05 share of the new company for each series A and B share they own.

Englewood-based Liberty has not set a record date to determine who participates in the spinoff. Liberty plans to offer an unspecified amount of cash in exchange for fractional-share interests.

The company expects to complete the spinoff, subject to regulatory and other third-party consents and approvals, in the second quarter.

Liberty, which also owns 98 percent of home shopping channel QVC and is a large shareholder in News Corp., plans to file a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the transaction, which is designed to be a tax-free transaction for shareholders.

Company officials weren't immediately available to provide additional information.