Barron’s informs readers: Few people have made more money for investors over the past three decades than John Malone.
The billionaire cable-TV investor and operator parlayed a small group of cable systems, originally assembled in the 1970s, into Tele-Communications Inc., before selling it to AT&T in 1999 for $48 billion.
Starting over with a handful of former TCI assets, Malone has, through an often mind-bending series of financial maneuvers, built another cable and media empire, Liberty Media. And together with Greg Maffei, Liberty’s CEO since 2005, he’s still building.
Investors have been well rewarded along the way. Over the past decade, Malone’s investment returns have bested those of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (ticker: BRKA).
A holder of the original Liberty Media in 2004, before it split its U.S. and international assets into separate companies, would have realized annualized returns of 13%, compared with 7.5% for Berkshire and 7.7% for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, according to Christopher Marangi, co-chief investment officer of the value group at Mario Gabelli’s Gamco Investors.