Liberty Soars on Sirius

Media holdings company Liberty Media , controlled by deal maker and billionaire John Malone, continues to outperform with a strong roster of assets. The biggest boost to the company's most recent earnings report: perennial Fool favorite Sirius XM . One thing that can concern investors and analysts, though, is the ability for conglomerates to continue delivering value after successful runs. Is Liberty readying for a new acquisition, a new spinoff, or both? Let's take a look at recent earnings for clues about the future of the company.

Earnings recap
For the first quarter, Liberty Media posted revenues of $789 million. In the year-ago quarter, that number was just $35 million, but investors need to note that this year's figure includes $635 million worth of subscriber revenue -- a figure absent from prior earnings.

Moving down the income statement, the company brought in $262 million in EBITDA, up 26% year over year. The company does not provide per-share figures.

Other highlights beyond the financial statements include the company's new 27.3% stake in cable operator Charter Communications . Liberty now represents four board seats at Charter and it is likely that Liberty will continue to build ownership of the company.

The most encouraging segment, by far, was Sirius XM. Regardless of whether Sirius investors were approving of its takeover or not, the company is performing at record levels. For the quarter, Sirius gained 453,000 subscribers to bring the total to a company record of 24.4 million. Jim Meyer was named the new CEO of the satellite radio provider.

What now?
Liberty has had a strong run since its current incarnation debuted on the markets -- up 11% since early January. The company recently spun off premium cable company Starz, which has had a phenomenal run of nearly 90% since November of last year and, according to Liberty CEO Greg Maffei, is in prime place to be acquired.

Investors should take note of the company's recent debt financing of $1.4 billion. This allows the company not only to grow its stake in positions such as Charter, but to look elsewhere for new targets as well. John Malone is a deal master, and has no intention of stopping now that Sirius is under his control.

At just over 10.5 times trailing earnings, and even cheaper looking a couple of years down the line, Liberty is a very reasonably priced stock with strong capital appreciation potential. I have faith in both Malone and Maffei as effective, shareholder-friendly leaders who will guide the company through more bolt-on acquisitions and, if necessary, spinoffs. Investors are wise to take notice of either.

A Sirius matter
Despite Sirius XM being one of the market's biggest winners since bottoming out three years ago, there is still some healthy upside to be had if things go right for it -- and plenty of room for it to fall if things don't. Read all about Sirius in The Motley Fool's premium report. To get started, just click here now.

The article Liberty Soars on Sirius originally appeared on

Fool contributor Michael Lewis has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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