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Liberty Gets FCC Nod For Sirius Control

Transfer Expected in 60 Days 1/04/2013 8:15 AM Eastern

Liberty Media said it has received approval from the Federal Communications Commission for control of Sirius XM, ending a nine-month effort to gain saga to take over the satellite radio pioneer.

In a brief statement Jan. 3, Liberty said the FCC granted it “de jure control” of Sirius. The programming giant said it expected to complete the transfer of control of Sirius within 60 days.

Liberty had already owned nearly 50% of Sirius, through a 40% stake it acquired after bailing out the struggling company in 2009 with a $530 million loan. Sirius has since gotten back on its feet –its stock is up 66% in the past 12 months and rose 1.3% to $3.12 per share on Jan. 3.  Liberty made its first attempt to gain control of the company in March, asking the FCC for permission to take control of Sirius’ wireless licenses. The agency denied that request May, adding that Liberty should own more shares, a suggestion Liberty took to heart, buying about $1.5 billion in Sirius stock in 2012 and boosting its interest to 49.5% of Sirius’ outstanding shares.

That apparently was enough for the FCC, which on Jan., 3 said the transfer would “serve the public interest, convenience and necessity.”

September