Liberty Media Is Giving Up on Sirius, For Now
At the beginning of the year it seemed as though John Malone’s Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA), a part of the investor’s conglomerate Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA), was set to become the full owner of SiriusXM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI), but now Liberty Media has announced it’s withdrawing its bid for the satellite radio provider.
In a statement released on Thursday, Liberty Media announced both a new stock class and that it was dropping its bid for Sirius. “We are creating two new tracking stocks, Liberty Media and Liberty Broadband,” said Greg Maffei, the company’s CEO. “This is another step in Liberty’s process of offering investors greater choice, transparency, and focus. We expect to complete the creation of the new tracking stocks by the third-quarter. In light of the tracking stock distribution, our offer for SiriusXM is no longer applicable. Depending on market conditions, we look forward to further discussions with the SiriusXM Special Committee. We remain enthusiastic owners of 53 percent of SiriusXM.”
Liberty announced its intention to acquire the remainder of SiriusXM back in January. The proposed deal would have turned Sirius into a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Media, which has famously seen its original $1 billion investment made during the financial crisis increase tenfold in the past several years. The company already essentially has full control of the satellite radio provider after taking a bigger stake in 2012 and ousting then-CEO Mel Karmazin.
Malone said that the decision was made in order for Liberty Media to concentrate more fully on its cable business Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR). Charter recently made a bid for Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), for which it enlisted the help of Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), the biggest cable provider in the country. When talks between Comcast and Charter broke down, Comcast proceeded to acquire Time Warner itself.