Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin Addresses His Future, Relationship With John Malone

58 BIZ Mel Karmazin
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The head of the satellite radio firm signals he could be willing to work with the chairman of biggest investor Liberty Media, which has looked to take control of Sirius.

Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin on his company's earnings conference call Tuesday was once again was asked about the attempts by John Malone's Liberty Media to take control of Sirius XM and his likely future. And he seemed to signal he was willing to continue working with Malone if Liberty took full control of the satellite radio firm. 

Liberty is Sirius' largest investor with a stake of 46 percent.

Karmazin previously had said he doesn't enjoy working for anyone else, which led Malone to tell reporters at the Herb Allen gathering of media moguls this summer: “I would prefer not to lose Mel, but he’s gone public and said he won’t work for me, so what am I supposed to do?”

Other observers said at that time that Karmazin had likely simply referred to his time at Viacom, when he and chairman Sumner Redstone had some differences in personal style.

“My experience at Viacom was something I didn’t enjoy,” Karmazin said Tuesday when asked about his feelings about working for Malone. “There is no issue" between him and Malone, he added.

Concluded Karmazin: “I can assure you that the board and I are interested in accomplishing whatever Liberty wants to do” as long as it is in the interests of all Sirius shareholders.

The CEO confirmed that his contract expires at the end of the year, emphasizing that “the board and I will deal with it” before the third-quarter earnings conference call.

Asked about Liberty's plans, Karmazin said the company must decide "what they want to do, and maybe they’ve done that already." He added: "They have not exactly communicated that to us.”


Twitter: @georgszalai