Liberty Media (Nasdaq: LMCA ) is apparently going to nickel-and-dime its way to a majority stake in Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI ) .
A day after revealing that Liberty Media has entered into a forward purchase contract to acquire 302 million shares of Sirius XM at a price of $2.15 a share, John Malone's eclectic holding company has apparently secured another 60.35 million shares of the satellite radio giant.
Combine the two transactions with the 40% preferred share stake that Liberty Media has owned since 2009, and the company will effectively have a 46.2% stake in Sirius XM.
What's Liberty Media up to? Well, last month's petition for the right to take de facto control of Sirius XM was rebuffed as incomplete, but that was when Malone only had the 40% chunk that it received when it stepped up as Sirius XM's loan shark three years ago. Whether Liberty Media will be required to build its stake up to 50.1% or its petition will be reconsidered given the recent developments, it's really simply a matter of time now before the company does have control of the premium radio service.
Given Malone's history of spinoffs, one school of thought is that Liberty Media will simply spin off its stake in Sirius XM once it achieves majority control.
Then again, there's nothing stopping Malone from keeping his empire intact. Sure, Liberty Media is a hodgepodge of consumer-facing properties. It owns the Atlanta Braves. Last year it took a sizable piece of Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS ) . A strong media presence with a pro sports kicker? Isn't that Madison Square Garden (NYSE: MSG ) ? Despite the Knicks getting bumped out of the playoffs last night, Madison Square Garden isn't a bad model to emulate.
Then again, this is Malone we're talking about. A spinoff once Liberty Media receives de facto control or actually buys its way in is the most likely endgame here.
Sirius XM speculators who may have been buying in hoping for an outright buyout at a hefty premium may be out of luck, but the way that the satellite radio is growing, the bigger payday awaits patient investors at this point.
Running of the bulls
I remain bullish on Sirius XM's future. It should come as no surprise that I'm promoting the CAPScall initiative for accountability by reiterating my bullish call on Sirius XM for Motley Fool CAPS.
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