Sirius Fights Back Against Liberty Media

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Sirius XM disclosed last week that Liberty Media is seeking to take ‘de facto’ control of the satellite radio company, and Sirius, in turn, filed a petition with the FCC asking to deny Liberty’s take over.

Mel Karmazin
Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin

Liberty already owns the equivalent of a 40 percent stake in Sirius XM, which it took when Sirius was trying to dodge bankruptcy in 2009. As of March 2012, however, under an earlier agreement, Liberty became free to pursue more stock. So it has asked the FCC for permission to assume “de facto” control over Sirius as a large stakeholder.

Liberty may not win control any time soon, as its FCC application is likely to drag on, said the Wall Street Journal, which adds that Liberty could gain “lucrative tax advantages” if the petition were approved.

If Liberty assumes control, who would run Sirius XM?  Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin told Reuters last week he prefers to be his own boss.  Karmazin has been CEO of Sirius  since 2004.

Back in2009 Liberty, led by media mogul John Malone, invested $530 million in Sirius XM  and received preferred stock convertible into 40% of Sirius’ voting shares.

For details see sources below:

Sources: Reuters, Seeking Alpha, The Wall Street Journal (subscription required)


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