UnitedGlobalCom Says Liberty Media Deal Signing Near

WASHINGTON — UnitedGlobalCom Inc. said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that definitive documents will be signed “in the near future” for a deal with Liberty Media Corp. and its Liberty Media International unit.

Liberty Media (LMCA, LMCB), a programming and communications powerhouse, and UnitedGlobalCom (UCOMA), an international provider of cable-television and other broadband services, announced in May the terms of a revised funding agreement that included a first closing in May and a second closing later on.

The first closing included a one billion euro ($909.9 million) investment in UnitedGlobalCom’s United Pan-Europe Communications NV (UPCOY) unit. The second closing — which is taking longer than expected — involves the creation of a new United holding company to include UnitedGlobalCom and $1.4 billion in assets and cash contributed by Liberty Media.

Denver-based UnitedGlobalCom noted in the SEC filing that it said on Aug. 14 that the company anticipated definitive documents being signed “within the next seven to 10 business days.” However, UnitedGlobalCom said in the filing that the documents are still being prepared, but that it “anticipates that definitive documents will be signed in the near future and does not anticipate that they will contain material changes from the amended and restated agreement.”

“This is a complicated transaction involving hundreds of documents,” noted UnitedGlobalCom spokesman Jim Carlson. “We anticipate that the second stage of the Liberty transaction will be signed in the near future.”

Guzman&Co. senior equity analyst David Joyce said he thinks UnitedGlobalCom made the SEC filing because both it and Liberty have been swamped with phone calls asking about the closing. The 10th business day following the Aug. 14 conference call was Tuesday, so investors were expecting the documents to be filed by then, he noted. But the delay is understandable, according to Mr. Joyce, because the second closing involves other owners of the Liberty cable-TV assets in Latin America.

He also doesn’t expect any material change in the deal from what’s already been announced.

UnitedGlobalCom’s stock has been down recently mainly because of the nervousness of United Pan-Europe investors about future funding for United Pan-Europe, Mr. Joyce noted, with the decline in United Pan-Europe shares causing a drop in UnitedGlobalCom’s stock. He added nervousness about the delay in the second closing on the Liberty deal has also “helped send the stock down a little.”
“I really don’t think people should be nervous,” Mr. Joyce went on to say. “Give it another two weeks.”

Copyright (c) 2001 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved