FCC lets Liberty liberate Sirius XM licenses


Sirius XMLiberty Media won FCC approval to assume the broadcast licenses from Sirius XM Radio, the latest hurdle in its takeover quest of the satellite radio provider.

Liberty, Sirius’s largest shareholder with a current stake of just under 50%, filed a petition with the FCC for de jure control in August and March of last year. Liberty asked the FCC for approval to take outright control of Sirius, via plans to raise its ownership stake above 50%. Liberty in filings said it will convert preferred stock and buy enough shares to own more than 50% of Sirius XM common stock within 60 days of gaining approval for the license transfers, the FCC said in its order.

Former Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin resigned late last year and the company named James Meyer as interim chief while it seeks a replacement.

RBR-TVBR observation: Liberty Media Chairman John Malone said in July he eventually planned to spin off Sirius after gaining control of the company. As we’ve noted before, with more than enough pre-XM/SIRI merge satellites in the sky right now, it’s likely Liberty will expand the Sirius XM service and/or develop a new service, such as mobile satellite television,  before spinning it off. Liberty sees a way to increase the value of this company or it probably wouldn’t be so interested.