Liberty Gains Majority Control of Sirius

Liberty Media Corp., the holding company that announced plans last year to take over Sirius XM Radio Inc., gained majority control of the satellite-radio provider with its latest purchase of 50 million shares.

Liberty Media now owns 1.99 billion common shares and 1.29 billion convertible shares, according to a filing yesterday. If the converted stock is added to the outstanding shares of New York-based Sirius, Liberty Media owns about 50.5 percent.

Liberty plans to take control of the Sirius board, putting it in position to choose a new chief executive officer. James Meyer was named interim CEO in December, replacing Mel Karmazin, who resigned last year. Liberty will consider returning capital to Sirius shareholders with stock buybacks or a dividend, Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei said in November.

The Federal Communications Commission approved the transfer of broadcast licenses earlier this month, the last major hurdle preventing Liberty from finishing its takeover of the satellite-radio company. Liberty said it would own more than 50 percent of outstanding shares within 60 days of FCC approval.

Liberty Media, controlled by billionaire John Malone, was little changed at $110.55 at the close in New York. Sirius rose

0.5 percent to $3.16.

The satellite-radio company’s stock climbed 59 percent last year, helped by recovering auto sales. Sirius radios come pre-installed in about two-thirds of new cars.

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