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Liberty Media buys more shares of Sirius XM, gets majority control of satellite broadcaster

Liberty Media Corp., which has been trying to take over Sirius XM Radio Inc. for some time, has now bought enough shares in the satellite radio company to give it majority control.

The Englewood, Colo., company disclosed in a Securities and Exchange filing Thursday that it bought 50 million common shares in the company. It now holds about 2 billion common shares and 1.29 billion convertible shares, according to the filing. Those combined give Liberty a more than 50 per cent stake in Sirius.

Sirius, based in New York, provides radio programming in vehicles, online and through mobile applications to nearly 24 million subscribers.

Liberty, run by cable magnate John Malone, saved Sirius from near-bankruptcy in 2009 by agreeing to lend it up to $530 million in exchange for preferred stock that amounted to a 40 per cent stake. Since then, it had slowly amassed more shares in the company. Meanwhile, Sirius has recovered from its tailspin and added more subscription customers, adding 2 million net subscribers during 2012.

The Federal Communications Commission recently approved the transfer of Sirius broadcast licenses to Liberty. The FCC was looking into Liberty's proposed takeover of Sirius, and Liberty said in October that if the commission approves, it would buy up enough shares to give it majority control.

A representative for Sirius did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Sirius shares gained 2 cents to $3.17 in midday trading Friday. Its shares have climbed roughly 60 per cent since July.


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