The regulatory agency sided with Sirius XM which said that while John Malone’s Liberty might control the satellite radio company one day, it doesn’t do so yet. The proof: Liberty’s application to claim Sirius XM’s broadcast licenses was unacceptable because it was “unable to obtain the passwords, signatures, and other necessary information from Sirius to properly file an electronic transfer of control application,” two FCC officials said in a letter today. Liberty had argued that it already pretty much calls the shots at Sirius by virtue of the preferred stock it bought for $530M in 2009 when Sirius was in danger of defaulting on its debt. The shares can be swapped for 40% of the company’s equity. But the officials noted that Liberty hasn’t demonstrated that it intends to actually make that swap or, if it did, that it could take control of the company board. Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin told investors this week that “40 (percent) is not the new 50.”
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