After being rejected by the Federal Communications Commission in its attempt to gain de facto control of Sirius XM, cable legend John Malone's Liberty Media said it would purchase an additional 5% of the satellite radio giant's stock, a move that could push the media giant closer to a spin-off of the unit.
Liberty, which already owns preferred shares convertible into about 40% of Sirius stock, said it has entered into a forward purchase contract for 302 million shares at $2.15 per share. The $650 million purchase is expected to close in the third quarter and would give Liberty 45.2% of Sirius stock, pushing it closer to the 50.1% it needs for a tax-free spin-off of the company.
Liberty had tried to gain de facto control of Sirius' wireless licenses, claiming in FCC filings that although it did not own a majority of Sirius stock, as the largest individual shareholder it basically ran the show. The FCC did not agree and last Friday rejected Liberty's claim.