Mel thinks he’s out at Sirius after Malone takes over


Mel KarmazinJohn Malone’s Liberty Media, close to gaining control of SiriusXM after the 50% ownership stake is reached (it’s now at 49.7%), is gearing to replace Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin, according to NY Post sources. But will Malone really do it? Read on.

From the NY Post story:

Liberty, the largest shareholder in Sirius with just under 50 percent of the stock, will kick off a CEO search as soon as Karmazin’s contract runs out at the end of this year, said a source.

Yesterday, the outspoken Karmazin, who has been fending off Malone’s advances for months, predicted he would exit if Liberty gains control of the company.

“My instincts today are that Liberty does not need me at the company,” Karmazin said at a Bank of America media conference in Beverly Hills, Calif. “I have historically been expensive. It’s very clear to me that if I were Liberty, I would sit there and say, ‘I’m not sure we need Mel.’…I am certainly open to having a conversation but certainly my instincts today are that Liberty does not need me at the company,” Karmazin said.

He added that he would be more interested in staying if Liberty spins off Sirius XM to public shareholders and does not remain the controlling shareholder.

It looks like that may not happen in the short term—or at all.

More from the Post:

Meanwhile, there are other signs that Karmazin is prepping his exit. In the last few months, just as the battle with Malone was heating up, Karmazin began cashing in his shares. Since April, he has sold $123 million worth of stock, according to regulatory filings.

The exec, who presided over the merger with rival XM Radio, is credited with dramatically boosting Sirius’s subscriber base, thanks in part to improving auto sales.

See the NY Post story here

RBR-TVBR observation: As much as it looks like Malone will replace Karmazin, we have to wonder why, from a business, rather than personal (Karmazin v. Malone) perspective. Karmazin has done wonders with the company (need we name them all?)—why replace a good thing? Karmazin has not fought against Malone taking over. Why wouldn’t he? Perhaps he knows he’s staying (at least in some major capacity). Maybe not, but food for thought.