Mel Karmazin denies that Liberty controls SiriusXM (audio)


Mel KarmazinThe battle at the FCC over Liberty Media’s application to be granted de facto control of SiriusXM Radio’s licenses is certainly of interest to Wall Street, so while it was not mentioned in management’s discussion of Q1 financial results, the standoff with Liberty certainly came up in the Q&A session with analysts. What did CEO Mel Karmazin have to say?

Karmazin repeated what the company said in its own FCC filing, seeking dismissal of the Liberty applications, that Liberty does not control SiriusXM – that the board of directors does. Liberty has several members on that board, but not a majority, and it holds a 40% voting stake in SiriusXM, so Karmazin was careful not to badmouth such a large investor. Nevertheless, he made it clear that he is not going to accept Liberty’s claim that it has control of SiriusXM.

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Karmazin was also asked what Liberty plans to do, should the FCC agree to give it control of the SiriusXM licenses. Liberty hasn’t said what it plans to do. Karmazin said he doesn’t know what Liberty’s plans are, and noted that Liberty doesn’t have any legal obligation to tell him or anyone else.