Malone confirms succession plan

John Malone

The CEOs of John Malone’s companies will have the first right to acquire his controlling stock after he dies, the US cable magnate has told the Irish Times.

Malone, speaking during Liberty Global’s annual overseas board meeting in Dublin, confirmed to the paper that “most of [his] long-time CEOs…have the first right” to acquire stock after his death.

Malone said that, according to the US government, he had control of 13 public companies and “five or six” other businesses. He said that most of his personal wealth would go to a charitable foundation.

Malone gave right of first refusal to his holdings in Discovery Communications and Liberty Global to CEOs David Zaslav and Mike Fries in 2014 in a move seen at the time as the first step in laying out a succession plan for his business empire.

Under the plan, Zaslav will get the first option on Malone’s stake in Discovery, while Fries will have first look at his stake in Liberty Global.

A second filing at that time gave Zaslav and Fries the option to vote Malone’s Class B shares if the media magnate decided not to voite on board-level decisions of their respective firms.

Zaslav recently had his tenure at Discovery extended until 2023. His 2014 agreement with Malone applied only if he remains CEO of the factual channels giant or retains a place on the board.



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