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Bennett: Time Warner to Hold Court

Liberty Media Corp. CEO Robert Bennett said at an industry conference Tuesday that it is likely that Liberty’s partner in cable network Court TV, Time Warner Inc., will assume full ownership of the network next year.

Bennett, speaking at the Bear Stearns Cos. Inc. Media Conference in Palm Beach, Fla., said he expects to monetize Liberty’s 50% interest in Court TV early next year. That’s when both partners have the right to put their interests to the other.

Liberty’s interest in Court TV could be worth about $1 billion.

“Our deal with Time Warner, in January or February of next year, they have a call and we have a put,” Bennett said at the conference. “There’s a high degree of probability that one of those will be exercised and Time Warner will end up owning it sometime next year. It’s possible that we could do it earlier, but at the latest, it will be sometime early next year.”

Bennett also expressed interest in Rainbow Media Holdings LLC cable networks AMC and The Independent Film Channel, adding that they would fit well with its Starz Encore Group LLC premium-movie channels. He added that no deals were in the works.

“AMC [and] IFC, those are wonderful channels that I think would be highly complimentary to Starz Encore,” Bennett added. “We’ve had conversations over the years about trying to buy them [or] put them together, without success.”