I Don't Believe Mel Karmazin Will Leave Sirius XM Radio
Satellite radio has had a hard time trying to get Wall Street to side with it. It seems as if it has been a fight to convince the Street that the popularity of satellite radio can also be profitable. Sirius XM (SIRI) may find that boost from the recent move by Liberty Media (LMCA). The relationship between the two companies has been well-documented, but Liberty has raised its share holdings from 49.2% to 49.7%. With that move there could be a challenge to the board of Sirius XM now.
Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin's contract will expire by the end of the year. Part of the timing of buying the shares now may have to do with replacement strategies. Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei has even suggested that it may be time for Sirius management to see a shakeup. Karmazin suggested that Liberty Media replace the board after it gains control, and he may not be staying on. But this may be a good thing for investors. John Malone, who heads up Liberty Media, is a fierce competitor and has done well with the company. Can it make money? Obviously Malone thinks it can, and this may sit well with investors.
It will only be a matter of time before Liberty Media has full control. Not long ago, Liberty Media filed a new application with the FCC stating its intent to take over more than 50% of Sirius so it can control the entire board. Has this been Liberty's intent all along? Back in 2009 at the height of the recession, when Sirius radio struggled financially because of the slowdown in auto sales, Liberty stepped in with a half-a-billion-dollar loan that also gave it a 40% stake in the company through preferred stock.
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