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John Malone may not have Sirius XM, but he still has a media empire

SiriusXM logoEverybody’s blogging and twittering away over Liberty Media Corporation’s failed attempt to take de facto control of Sirius XM satellite radio. The Federal Communications Commission rejected Liberty’s application on Friday. Liberty owns 40 percent of Sirius XM stock. The reasons for the rebuff appear to be technical:

“We find Liberty Media’s applications to be unacceptable for filing because they are defective with respect to ‘execution’ and ‘other matters of a formal character’.” the FCC opined. “Specifically, Liberty Media was unable to obtain the passwords, signatures, and other necessary information from Sirius to properly file an electronic transfer of control application.”

But don’t get too weepy for Liberty. Reuters analyst Jeffrey Goldfarb offers a slew of sneaky-Pete ways that Liberty CEO John Malone could still take control of Sirius XM. Among them:

“Liberty can block any strategic initiatives Sirius boss Mel Karmazin and his board may want to make, so Malone could press them into another of his fiendishly complex deals.”

It’s worth going over to Liberty and taking a look at its assets page. Its subsidiaries include Starz, the Atlanta Braves, and TruePosition. Liberty also has interests in Live Nation, Barnes & Noble, Time Warner, Time Warner Cable, Viacom, McNeil/Lehrer Productions (producer of the PBS News Hour), and Sprint Nextel.

In some instances, the share only comes to one percent. But I wonder how many companies would turn down a one percent share in Viacom.

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