Liberty Media gets nod from FCC to take control of Sirius XM

Thu Jan 3, 2013 6:50pm EST

(Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission gave Liberty Media Corp the green light to take control of satellite radio company, Sirius XM Radio Inc, Liberty said on Thursday.

The company said it expects to complete the transfer of control within 60 days.

Liberty, which is Sirius' largest shareholder, filed with the FCC in August requesting control.

The company has effectively been acting as Sirius' owner over the past several months, choosing new interim Chief Executive Jim Meyer and initiating a stock buy back program and special dividend.

Liberty wanted control of Sirius because it believed Mel Karmazin, who left as CEO of Sirius in December, did not adapt quickly enough to changing technologies.

Currently Liberty holds a 49.8 percent stake in Sirius.

Liberty acquired its initial share in Sirius in 2009 as part of deal in which it loaned the satellite radio service $530 million.

While it has been increasing its ownership of Sirius, the bulk of its stake is in the preferred shares it acquired in the 2009 transaction.

Liberty plans to convert the preferred shares into common stock, but was waiting for FCC approval before making the move that would push its ownership above 50 percent.

(Reporting By Jennifer Saba in New York; editing by Carol Bishopric)