Liberty Media informed the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday that it had acquired more than 48% of Sirius XM Radio's shares and intends to push that amount above 50% in order to take control over the New York satellite radio company.
Liberty disclosed the plan several months after it failed to persuade the Federal Communications Commission to grant it control over Sirius based on its ownership of 40% of the company's shares.
Sirius' chief executive, Mel Karmazin, rebuffed the takeover attempt at the time, saying Liberty's argument that its 40% stake was sufficient to gain control was akin to proclaiming "Forty is the new 50."
Liberty's chairman, John Malone, might have taken that barb to heart. Since March, the New York media conglomerate has been buying up Sirius shares; its stake is now 48.1%. In its report to the SEC, Liberty said it "intends to acquire beneficial ownership of additional shares of common stock that, together with its current beneficial ownership, would represent more than 50% of the outstanding shares."