John Malone buys Alaska’s GCI for $1.12B

Telecom entrepreneur John Malone’s Liberty Interactive announced the purchase of Alaska’s General Communications Inc. (GCI) in an all-stock deal valued at $1.12 billion.

GCI serves cable TV and broadband service to 108,000 customers across Alaska. It’s also the state’s biggest telephone and wireless provider. 

For his part, Malone is known for crafting complicated deals and creating organizations with complex structures.

Liberty Interactive will be renamed QVC Corp. after completion of the deal. GCI will be held by the Liberty Ventures Group side of the business, which also houses Liberty Broadband, Charter Communications and LendingTree Inc., among other companies.

Liberty Ventures will then be split off from the combined company in a new company called GCI Liberty. Liberty Interactive will control 77% of this company, as well as an 84% voting interest. 

Liberty Interactive was split off from Liberty Media in 2013. It primarily controls interests in companies that are involved in video and digital commerce industries.

“GCI is the largest communications provider in Alaska, generates solid cash flow with upside potential and is a strong fit with the largest businesses in Liberty Ventures,” said Greg Maffei, Liberty Interactive president and CEO, in a statement. “This transaction will ultimately create a standalone Liberty Ventures, reducing the tracking stock discount and enabling an asset-backed QVC Group.”

GCI arrives in somewhat of a circle, having once been part of Liberty’s former parent Tele-Communication Inc. (TCI).

“This transaction with Liberty Interactive brings GCI back full circle, as GCI was part of TCI until 1986. We couldn’t think of a better owner, and look forward to being the largest operating asset within GCI Liberty,” said Ron Duncan, GCI president and CEO, also in a statement. “We will continue to run the company with our focus on providing the best value for Alaska customers, offering opportunities for our employees and investing wisely in the Alaska market.”