SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin has been telling Wall Street that he will not give up control of Sirius without securing a premium from Liberty for his shareholders. But at the annual Allen & Co media and technology conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, Liberty Media Chairman John Malone said 7/12 that if anyone was going to get a premium in a deal, it would be him: “There are three parties in this deal – Sirius and its shareholders, Liberty and its shareholders, and there’s me personally because I am the controlling shareholder in Liberty. So when you ask yourself, ‘Should there be a control premium and if there is one, who should get it,’ don’t forget about me,” Reuters reported.
Malone said Liberty and Sirius were currently engaged in negotiations over control and how large the premium would be. Karmazin and Malone have been locked in a battle for control of Sirius, where Liberty ranks as controlling shareholder, with a 46% stake.
In late May, Liberty told the FCC that it intended to take control of Sirius’ 13-seat board. The FCC had rejected the first application for control from Liberty, which currently holds five board seats, on 5/4. Sirius shot back in its own regulatory filing that it had been in discussions with Liberty, but had not reached an agreement and was unaware of Malone’s aim to shake up the board.
Malone became a majority owner of Sirius after Liberty floated Sirius a $530 million loan in 2009 to help it stave off bankruptcy.
Malone told reporters at Sun Valley that Liberty had no intention of taking operating control of Sirius away from Karmazin. “I love Mel,” he said. “We hope he is happy.”