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Liberty Media buys back $417 million in shares from Comcast

John Malone's Liberty Media Corp. has paid Comcast Corp. $417 million in cash to buy back shares in Liberty Media that Comcast held.

Comcast's interest in Liberty dates back to the Philadelphia-based cable company's sale 10 years ago of its stake in TV home shopping network QVC. Comcast owned about 6.3 million shares of Liberty.

Thursday's deal also ended a long-standing revenue-sharing agreement involving the business news network, CNBC. Englewood, Colo.-based Liberty received a portion of CNBC revenue in a complicated arrangement that dates back at least two decades.

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A Comcast spokesman declined to disclose how much of CNBC's revenue Liberty was paid each year.

Liberty announced several transactions Thursday, including an agreement with SiriusXM. The satellite radio company has agreed to repurchase $500 million in SiriusXM stock that Liberty owns. Liberty expects to continue to own more than 52% of SiriusXM's outstanding stock after the buyback -- without jeopardizing Liberty's control of SiriusXM.

The Sirius shares are expected to be purchased in three installments: $130 million next month, $270 million in January 2014 and $100 million in April 2014.

Liberty also said it might arrange a private offering of about $500 million in cash-convertible senior notes, which are due in 2023.  Conversions of the notes would be settled in cash, the company said in a statement.

Wall Street analysts are keeping close tabs on Liberty regarding its role in driving further consolidation in the cable industry. Liberty owns almost 30% of cable operator Charter Communications, which has made no secret of its desire to strike a deal with Time Warner Cable.

However, Time Warner Cable has, for now anyway, not returned that interest. 

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