The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) told John Malone he needs to buy a lot more Sirius XM (SIRI) stock if he wants to take over the radio network, Reuters reported. The FCC threw out the bid by Malone’s Liberty Media (LMCA) to take possession of Sirius’ licenses as a preliminary move for taking control.
But the FCC did not end Malone’s takeover bid. In a ruling released on May 5th, it simply said that the Colorado billionaire and his company need to have more than the current 40% of Sirius stock that they control. That seems to indicate that the commission would transfer the Sirius licenses to Liberty if it could get its hands on a larger percentage of the company. So, it looks like Malone could soon go shopping for Sirius shares.
Reuters quoted unidentified Liberty executives as saying that the company will be able to boost its stake in Sirius to 49.9%. If they could do that, they would be in striking range of taking control of the network. The article did not say where Liberty would get the additional shares, nor did it mention a source, so this rumor should be regarded as hearsay and not as fact.
Interestingly enough, Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin predicted that the FCC would rule against Liberty during his company’s first-quarter conference call on Tuesday, May 3rd. Karmazin did not say why he thought the FCC would do this, but it looks like his job is safe at least for now.