Will Captain Liberty Media Steer Sirius XM?
Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) is stepping up its efforts to take control of Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) once again, having filed an appeal with the Federal Communications Commission in regard to the commission’s rejection of an earlier similar request. That would pit Liberty’s John Malone against Sirius chief executive Mel Karmazin, who has expressed his unhappiness over the potential deal.
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In March, with a 40 percent stake in the radio, Liberty had asked the FCC to recognize it as having “de facto control.” The request was denied and Karmazin made it clear that he would resist the attempt as long as possible. Since then, Malone’s company has increased its stake to 46.2 percent.
According to the latest filing, Liberty has asked for a reconsideration and insists that it will eventually try and buy more common shares of Sirius on the open market to get over the 50 percent mark needed to install its own board of directors.
In a response filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Sirius raised procedural questions about Liberty’s proposals. It also said that it has been in discussions with Liberty but that “there is no assurance that these discussions will result in any specific action or transaction.”
Liberty saved Sirius from bankruptcy in 2009 with a $530 million loan, but agreed not to make any attempts to take over the company for three years. The agreement expired in March. Liberty also has holdings in the Starz (NASDAQ:LSTZA) television channel, Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS), and Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE:LYV).
Shares of Sirius closed Friday down 2.65% at $1.84 per share.