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John Malone lays out succession plans

MUMBAI: Liberty Media chairman John Malone has given infotainment broadcaster Discovery CEO David Zaslav and Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries the right of first refusal to buy his voting stakes in their companies.

In a Schedule 13D document with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Malonne said that Zaslav would have the right to vote on Malone’s 29.5 per cent stake in Discovery “in the event Mr. Malone is not voting the shares”.
If and when Malone elects to sell his shares of Discovery Series B stock, “Zaslav (individually or through an entity he controls), will have an exclusive right to negotiate to purchase such shares.”

Should the parties fail to come to terms on a transaction of said shares, Zaslav “will have the right to match the offer made by a third party.

Both companies have dual class share structures that give Malone control.

Talking to WSJ Malonne said, “”Nothing is changing right now. I have no plans to transfer any of my voting shares and plan on staying actively involved in both Liberty Global and Discovery Communications going forward. But, in the event I do in the future decide to pursue the sale of my voting position, I am excited about providing these two strong executives, who have both created significant shareholder value, with a path toward acquiring that stake and preserving the long-term stability and continuity of the companies they have built and will continue leading into the future.”