The satellite radio company CEO didn’t say that directly in a conference call with analysts this morning. But he sure left that impression after he was asked about the effort by Liberty Media Chairman John Malone — Sirius XM‘s biggest shareholder with about 46% of the voting stock — to take control. It’s been widely believed that Karmazin would split if that happened, based in part on comments he made a few years ago about not wanting to work for someone else. Yet he said this morning that his statements about wanting to be No. 1 came in the context of his frustrations trying to run Viacom under Sumner Redstone. Karmazin left the company in 2004. “My experience at Viacom was something I didn’t enjoy,” he said this morning. So what about working for Malone? Karmazin says that “there is no issue involving Mel” that might interfere and “I can assure you that the board and I are interested in accomplishing whatever Liberty wants to do” as long as it serves all shareholders’ interests. Karmazin says that his contract expires at year end and “the board and I will deal with it” before the next quarterly conference call with analysts. As for the status of Liberty’s take-over effort, “we really have nothing new to report,” the Sirius XM chief says. “Liberty has to decide what they want to do, and maybe they’ve done that already. They have not exactly communicated that to us.”
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