Liberty Likes What it Sees at DIRECTV

Calling Liberty Media's first quarter takeover of a controlling stake in DIRECTV "a great deal for our shareholders," Liberty President and CEO Greg Maffei had nothing but good things to say about the DBS service and its recent performance during a Thursday conference call with analysts.

"We like the company so much that we took our stake to nearly 48 percent," said Maffei, referring to Liberty's move to increase its interest in DIRECTV last month.

On Wednesday, DIRECTV reported solid first quarter results, including subscriber growth of 275,000 during the period, taking its customer count past the 17 million mark. "DIRECTV really had a stupendous quarter on just about every metric," Maffei said.

Also, Maffei said Liberty supports DIRECTV's move to buy back shares through a $3 billion program. And he said Liberty is OK with limiting its voting power in DIRECTV to its current ownership percentage of 47.9 percent.

On Thursday, Liberty Media reported that first quarter revenues jumped 11 percent at its Entertainment Group, which holds its DIRECTV stake, and by 10 percent at its Interactive Group. Revenues at Starz Entertainment increased three percent to $273 million, while QVC reported a five percent boost in first quarter revenue to $1.77 billion.

The newly reclassified Liberty Capital Group - which includes the company's interests in Time Warner, Sprint Nextel and the Atlanta Braves baseball club, among other assets - reported a $19 million increase in revenue.