Liberty Media Corp. Interactive, the stock that tracks the performance of John Malone's QVC home- shopping unit, may gain as much as 15 percent from the Colorado billionaire's faceoff against Barry Diller in a Delaware court, Bloomberg News reports.
Malone heads to trial March 10 to stop Diller's plan to break up IAC/InteractiveCorp. Some analysts expect a settlement that would let Malone swap his 30 percent stake in IAC for its Ticketmaster or HSN home-shopping units. Such a deal would be tax-free and could benefit Liberty Interactive, whose shares have fallen 22 percent this year.
``Their ownership in IAC isn't getting full value now,'' said Vijay Jayant, an analyst at Lehman Bros. Holdings in New York. Jayant, who has an ``overweight'' recommendation on Englewood, Colorado-based Liberty Interactive, estimates that HSN's $250 million in annual cash flow would add $1.50 to the tracking stock's Nasdaq trading price of $14.96. Almost 80 cents a share more could come from tax savings on a possible swap.
Investors haven't factored a Malone victory into Liberty Interactive stock. Diller predicted last month he would succeed in court and split IAC into five parts by midyear. The breakup plan would stick Liberty Interactive shareholders with an estimated tax obligation of up to $450 million, payable as he unwinds his holdings in the spun-off companies, based on a Bloomberg analysis of IAC's regulatory filings.
Delaware Chancery Judge Stephen Lamb isn't likely to let the breakup plan stand if Diller consciously added to Malone's tax burden, said Charles Elson, who heads the University of Delaware's Center for Corporate Governance.
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