Liberty Global has announced a series of transactions with its Japanese partner, Sumitomo Corporation, under which its cable Multi-Service Operator (MSO) Jupiter Telecommunications (J:COM) will merge with the thematic channel operator Jupiter TV. Following the transactions Liberty Global and Sumitomo will each own half of Jupiter TV, which owns a 70% stake in Jupiter Shop Channel and varying stakes in 19 thematic programming channels in the Japanese market. Jupiter TV will be divided into two distinct entities, one of which will own the Shop Channel stake. Liberty Global will exchange its interest in Shop Channel for JPY105 billion (USD867 million) in Sumitomo shares. Meanwhile, the themed channels part of the company, including Movie Plus, Golf Network, LaLa TV and J Sports Broadcasting, will be merged into J:COM, with Liberty Global and Sumitomo collectively receiving approximately JPY52.5 billion in J:COM shares. Liberty Global will receive J:COM stock valued at approximately USD217 million, increasing its consolidated ownership position in J:COM by one percentage point to 37.5%. Both transactions are expected to close in the third quarter of 2007.
In a separate development Liberty Global today announced that it has received a commitment for a loan of at least USD700 million secured by the shares and assets of a newly incorporated company (‘Newco’), which will indirectly hold Liberty Global’s current indirect interests in J:COM.