John Malone’s company expects the handover to take place within 60 days now that the FCC has approved “the transfer of de jure control of Sirius XM to Liberty,” it says. While the news was expected — Liberty already owns nearly 50% of the satellite radio company’s stock — it contributed to a 2% after-hours bump in Sirius XM’s stock on top of the 2% rise to $3.08 during the trading day. This is the highest the shares have been since early 2008, when the debt-laden company’s stock collapsed; Liberty Media’s $530M investment saved it from bankruptcy. Once Liberty takes charge, Sirius XM likely will repurchase about 20% of its shares, including the 10% that Liberty itself bought over the last year or so, Lazard Capital Markets’ Barton Crockett says. Investors also are encouraged by December’s stronger-than-expected auto sales, the chief way Sirius XM connects with new subscribers. The number of light vehicle sales for the year was up 13.4% vs 2011.
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