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Liberty Media Applies for Control of Sirius XM Radio

Sirius XM Satellite Radio Logo - H 2011

This marks mogul John Malone's second attempt at taking over the provider of satellite radio.

Billionaire media-mogul John Malone and his Liberty Media moved a step closer on Friday to taking control Sirius XM Radio.

In a filing with the FCC, Liberty asked permission to take "de jure" control over Sirius XM, having already failed at an attempt to take "de facto" control. The former requires more than a 50 percent stake in the company while the latter does not.

Liberty purchased 40 percent of Sirius XM when it basically rescued the company from bankruptcy three years ago with a $530 million loan, a prudent investment given that the market capitalization of Sirius XM has swelled to nearly $10 billion since then.

Liberty has been purchasing shares on the open market -- driving the price of the stock higher -- in recent months, so that now it owns 48 percent of Sirius XM. The company said it will purchase more shares and turn its preferred shares into common shares to get over the 50 percent threshold, but not until the FCC approves of its plan to take control of the company.

Shares of Sirius XM rose one percent Friday to $2.56 and are up about 35 percent since Liberty began its quest for control.

"Liberty Media is qualified to control Sirius XM," Liberty said in its FCC application on Friday. "Liberty Media and its current and previous subsidiaries have held numerous classes of FCC licenses."

Sirius XM on Friday filed a statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission pledging that it "will cooperate fully with the Commission in its evaluation of the application."

Liberty said it could acquire the necessary shares to own more than 50 percent of the company within 60 days of the FCC's approval.