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Liberty to Acquire E-Commerce Marketplace

Media conglomerate Liberty Media said today it has agreed to buy e-commerce retailer Provide Commerce for $477 million in cash.

Liberty, which owns cable channels Starz, Court TV, and the home shopping network QVC, said the buy will strengthen its e-commerce position and most importantly expand its home shopping network.

Under the terms of the agreement approved by both boards of directors, Liberty will pay $33.75 per share of Provide stock.

Provide, an e-commerce marketplace of Web sites for goods marketed under the brands ProFlowers, Cherry Moon Farms, Uptown Prime, and Secret Spoon, is a leader in online perishable goods. Through Provide's supply chain, Liberty is expecting to improve its competitive position.

The purchase will add to Liberty's broad range of electronic retailing, media, communications and entertainment businesses and investments, which also include IAC/InterActiveCorp, Expedia and News Corporation.

"We believe in the power of video to drive television and Web-based retailing businesses, and Provide is a compelling addition to our strategy," John C. Malone, Liberty's chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Liberty said the deal, which is subject to regulatory and stockholder approval, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2006.

Jovian Holdings, which holds a 29 percent stake in Provide, has already agreed to vote its shares in favor of the deal, according to Liberty.