Liberty to Take Control of Sirius XM Radio
Liberty Media has all but taken control of Sirius XM Radio.
The conglomerate said late Thursday it has received approval from the FCC for its request for the "transer of de jure control" of the satellite-radio firm, and it expects the complete transfer to occur within 60 days.
Liberty intends on converting preferred securities and debt in order to obtain enough shares to own more than 50 percent of Sirius, and FCC said it expects that to happen before the 60 days are up.
Liberty has been buying shares for several months and is already very close to the 50-percent threshold. The buying spree has been a catalyst for a surge in Sirius XM's stock price, which closed Thursday at $3.08, up 47 percent in six months.
Liberty has already replaced Mel Karmazin as CEO, installing James Meyer as Sirius XM's interim chief, and it has suggested that after it takes control of the radio company it will spin it off.
Sirius has more than 23 million subscribers to its service, which includes dozens of commercial-free channels as well as dozens of ad-supported channels dedicated to sports, comedy and politics. It also features celebrity channels starring the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Howard Stern, and it has deals for streaming audio from TV channels like CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and the Fox News Channel.