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Livewire at a loss

Post-prod'n giant posts qtr. drop pre-Four buy

Liberty Livewire Corp. slipped into the red in its fiscal third quarter, the last period prior to consolidation of massive additional post-production operations into its earnings reports.

For the three months ended May 31, Liberty Livewire posted Tuesday a loss of $1.1 million, or 10¢ per share, compared with a profit of $62,000, or 1¢ per share, in the same period of the previous fiscal year.

Doubled up

Revenue grew 13% to $28.1 million for operations comprising the former Todd-AO in Los Angeles. Liberty Livewire more than doubled its size just after the close of the reporting period, as the company acquired Burbank-based Four Media Co. on June 9.

In just a few years since its creation, Four Media has consolidated the lion’s share of Hollywood’s larger video post houses under one corporate roof. That and the recent combination with audio post giant Todd-AO has given some pause to the creative community, which fears that such concentration of post services may allow Liberty Livewire to hike prices.

Lively stock price

For the time being, the stunning collection of post assets has done wonders for the Liberty Livewire stock price. Sitting at a 52-week low of $42.38 as recently as June 16, company shares closed at $67.50 on Tuesday after marking a 52-week closing high of $71.13 the day before.

John Malone’s Liberty Media Group owns a 60% stake in Liberty Livewire, which is topped by former Liberty exec David Beddow. Liberty Livewire said costs related to the Liberty Media takeover contributed to its red ink but noted that decreased bookings of its L.A. soundstages also didn’t help.

Over nine months, the company marked a loss of $545,000, or 5¢ per share, compared with net income of $3.1 million, or 31¢ per share, in the year-earlier period.

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