Liberty Interactive announced on Friday after the stock market closed that it is transferring its e-commerce companies and its web and television entity QVC into two separate stocks.
Liberty Interactive, No. 6 in the 2014 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, had announced the forthcoming split in October 2013.
QVC will operate under the QVC Group, and the rest of the company’s e-commerce companies will operate as the Liberty Ventures Group. Liberty Ventures will include outdoor gear and apparel retailer Backcountry.com; supplement and fitness retailer Bodybuilding.com; drop ship and fulfillment vendor CommerceHub; online invite company Evite; Provide Commerce, which owns ProFlowers and other online gift retailers and infant and toddler apparel retailer The Right Start. FTD, No. 105 in the 2014 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, announced July 30 plans to acquire the floral and gifting businesses, including the e-commerce sites, of Provide Commerce from Liberty Interactive for $430 million.
The new Liberty Ventures Group will receive $1 billion in cash. In return, Liberty Interactive Group shareholders will receive approximately 67.67 million shares of Liberty Ventures common stock or approximately 0.14 of a Liberty Ventures share for each share of Liberty Interactive Group common stock.
“We are excited to introduce the QVC Group which focuses on our leadership position in video commerce, enables a cleaner comparable analysis and provides for more targeted share repurchase and equity incentives,” says Greg Maffei, Liberty Interactive president and CEO. “The Liberty Ventures Group is projected to have over $2.7 billion in cash by year end, which we can invest in a wide set of opportunities, including digital commerce.”
The new group clears the way for a stand-alone QVC, Wells Fargo Security analysts write in a statement. “We believe this transaction will allow for a timely separation of QVC, highlighting its value relative to peers, while fairly compensating shareholders for the value of Liberty’s digital assets.”
In August, Liberty Interactive reported the following QVC earnings data for the six months ended July 31:
- QVC.com U.S. revenue of $1.55 billion, a 7.6% increase from $1.44 billion in the first half of the prior year.
- Total QVC sales of $4.00 billion, up 1.5% from $3.94 billion.
- U.S. QVC sales of $2.66 billion, up 2.3% from $2.60 billion.
The company also said in August that 70% of QVC’s revenue from new customers now comes through digital channels. One of QVC’s top strategic priorities is expanding its e-commerce and mobile commerce sales, which already represent almost half of the TV and web retailer’s business, says QVC CEO Mike George.
“43% of our business is on e-commerce, and within that mobile, is about 40% of our e-commerce,” George told attendees at the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference earlier this year. “We are the No. 3 mobile player in the world, and we want to create really immersive experiences in e-commerce and mobile devices.” QVC is No. 5 in the Internet Retailer Mobile 500.
Wells Fargo analysts also write in their report that that a new QVC Group also “provides a cleaner pure play structure should the company decide to pursue an acquisition of HSNI.” HSN Inc., another cable and online retail shopping business is No. 26 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. QVC currently owns 38% of HSN.
For the first six months of 2014 ended June 30, HSN reported:
- E-commerce sales of $763.3 million, up by 35.6% from $562.8 million in the prior year period.
- Web sales for HSN were $414.0 million, up by 8.3% from $382.1 million
- Online sales for its Cornerstone brand were $349.3 million, up by 6.1% from $329.3 million.
- Total sales for HSN of $1.10 billion, up by 2% from $1.08 billion.
- Total sales for Cornerstone of $531.6 million, up by 4.5%% from $508.9 million.
- Total sales were $1.63 billion, up by 2.5% from $1.59 billion in the first six months of 2013.
- Net income of $65.1 million, down by 13.0% from $74.8 million in the same period last year.
- E-commerce represented 46.8% of sales in the first six months of fiscal 2014, compared with 35.4% last year.