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Liberty Media CEO talks M&A amid Yahoo rumors, Charter conditions


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Liberty Media CEO talks M&A amid Yahoo rumors, Charter conditions

CEO Greg Maffeiremained relatively mum on the possibility of a merger with Yahoo! Inc., but he did share some general thoughtsabout Liberty's M&A strategy on a May 9 conferencecall with analysts.

Previousreports have indicatedthat although Liberty Media Chairman John Malone is no longer on Yahoo's short listof potential buyers, Malone is still being kept in the loop as negotiations moveforward. Malone has reportedly put forward a tax-efficient merger with one of hiscompanies as one option for Yahoo.

Askedabout the rumors, Maffei said, "I'm not going to comment on Yahoo specifically.I think in general, you can say that we believe that we have some expertise at tax-efficienttransactions."

He addedthat of potential interest to the company are situations where Liberty can comein and either provide some level of expertise or some level of credibility in termsof putting money behind a transaction based on a belief that a deal can be donein a tax-efficient manner. But Maffei stressed he was not commenting on Yahoo'ssituation in particular.

As forother deals that Liberty has a potential interest in, Maffei was asked about theconditions imposed onthe pending mergerbetween Charter Communications Inc.and Time Warner Cable Inc.Charter's largest single shareholder is Malone's Liberty Broadband Corp. Inc.

Maffeisaid he viewed the concessions as "meaningful," especially with regardsto the seven years during which Charter would be barred from imposing data capsor charging usage-based pricing on broadband users or from charging interconnectionfees on online video providers that deliver large volumes of traffic to its customers.

"Noone wants to run their business with that lack of flexibility," he said. Headded, however, "from a financial perspective, I don't think it's totally harmful."

Ultimately,Malone is optimistic the deal will win approvalfrom the California Public Utilities Commission and close successfully.