S&P Downgrades Liberty Media, QVC Ratings After Assets Split
Nov 23, 2009 15:08:08 (ET)
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services downgraded its ratings on Liberty Media Corp. and its QVC business deeper into junk territory after Liberty Media split off some assets into a reorganized DirecTV Group Inc. (DTV).
"The ratings downgrade reflects a significant loss of asset value," said credit analyst Andy Liu.
Liberty, a conglomerate controlled by John Malone, has been taking steps to put its financial house in order after last year's market meltdown. The company's assets are being broken up into three categories, each with its own tracking stock.
Liberty Media now consists of QVC, Starz Entertainment LLC, significant equity stakes in Expedia Inc. (EXPE), Sirius XM Radio Inc. (SIRI) and HSN Inc. (HSNI), and a portfolio of less-strategic investments.
DirecTV had provided support for Liberty Media's holding-company debt, S&P noted. It downgraded Liberty Media and QVC two notches to BB-, three steps below investment grade. The rating outlook is stable. The ratings were removed from watch for possible downgrade, where they were placed last December, months before the spinoff plans were first announced.
Last week, Moody's Investors Service downgraded Liberty Media's ratings to B1, comparable to S&P's new rating. Fitch Ratings lowered its ratings in June after the split was announced.
-By Kathy Shwiff, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2357; Kathy.Shwiff@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 23, 2009 15:08 ET (20:08 GMT)