Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin expects to leave after Liberty Media takes over. (Associated Press )
Sirius XM Radio Inc. Chief Executive Mel Karmazin said he would likely leave the company when Liberty Media takes control of the satellite radio broadcaster.
Liberty, the largest shareholder in SiriusXM, currently holds just under 50% of the stock and has already told the Federal Communications Commission that it plans to acquire more than that and would like the regulatory agency to approve it as the outright owner when that happens.
Speaking at the Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills on Wednesday, Karmazin said he is willing to talk about staying but added, "If I were Liberty I would say, 'I'm not sure we need Mel.'"
Karmazin's contract with SiriusXM is up at the end of the year. He said he has had no negotiations with Liberty about a new deal in part because he thought doing so might suggest that he was not acting in the best interests of SiriusXM's other shareholders. SiriusXM has tried to fight the takeover in part because Karmazin feels Liberty is getting it without paying a premium.
While Karmazin said he is "open to having a conversation" about staying after the likely takeover, "my instincts today are Liberty does not need me at the company."
Asked what Liberty's ultimate plans for SiriusXM are, Karmazin said, "we really don't know what exactly their interest is ... they are not talking to us." Speculation is that Liberty will spin off SiriusXM to Liberty shareholders.
Liberty Media clears path to control of Sirius XM
SiriusXM fights Liberty takeover move
SiriusXM wins over listeners with niche play
Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.