Liberty Media takes majority control of Sirius XM satellite radio

Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:24am EST

Jan 18 (Reuters) - Liberty Media Corp has taken majority ownership of Sirius XM Radio Inc, a securities filing showed, after months of trying to wrest control of the satellite radio broadcaster.

John Malone's Liberty Media bought another 50 million shares of Sirius stock at an average price of $3.15 per share, according to a company filing made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday.

After that purchase, Liberty owns about 1.9 billion shares of Sirius XM's common stock. It also separately owns about 1.29 billion preferred shares. Including the convertible preferred shares, Liberty Media holds about 50.7 percent of Sirius XM's outstanding common stock.

Liberty has been trying for months to take control of Sirius. In January, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gave Liberty Media permission to do so.

Malone's firm 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.

Liberty has argued that Sirius should more aggressively pursue better technology and international expansion.

Liberty acquired an initial stake of about 40 percent in Sirius in 2009 as part of a deal in which it loaned the satellite radio broadcaster $530 million to help stave off bankruptcy.

Sirius ended the year with 23.9 million subscribers and maintains an estimated 70 percent market share of in-car radios sold in the United States.

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