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Sirius Trying to Fend Off Liberty Media

Former white knight now seen as trying to gain control of satcaster

Sirius chief executive Mel Karmazin won the top job when the satcaster acquired rival XM in 2008. Now Karmazin may be facing a possible takeover by rival Liberty Media, according to several news accounts.

Liberty Media Chairman John Malone led an effort that poured $530 million into Sirius in 2008 and gained a 40% ownership stake.

Now SiriusXM has asked the FCC to “dismiss or deny” an application for Liberty Media to take over the satellite radio company, reported the Wall Street Journal, which adds that a shareholder is deemed to have de facto control if it has less than 50.01% of a company but a big enough stake effectively to be in charge.

Now, regulatory filings by Liberty indicate its ownership stake in SiriusXM is worth nearly $6 billion, according to the WSJ, which indicates the filings were triggered by the expiration of a deal between the two companies that prevented Liberty’s efforts to take action to control SiriusXM.

Neither the commission nor SiriusXM would comment to the paper.