Karmazin Talks SiriusXM Status As Liberty Media Makes Moves
August 8, 2012
Mel Karmazin discussed the future of his status within SiriusXM, on the company's Q2 conference call yesterday, as Liberty Media made more moves to help acquire a bigger stake in the satcaster. Karmazin said on Tuesday that his contract with SiriusXM expires at the end of 2012, and that he and the satcaster's board will "deal with it" before the release of the company's Q3 report in three months.
Karmazin also revealed that SiriusXM's Personalized Radio Project is on track to debut by the end of this year. He described it as "a feature that will let our internet subscribers tailor expertly-curated music channels to their taste." Yesterday, SiriusXM announced the details of its new On-Demand offerings.
As for SiriusXM and Liberty's plans to acquire a larger stake in the company, Karmazin said, "Obviously we are engaged with Liberty; we speak to them from time to time on what their interest is. Clearly Liberty has to decide what they want to do and maybe they’ve done that already but they have not exactly communicated that to us. And when we hear what Liberty wants to do we will clearly respond."
As reported yesterday, SiriusXM Radio's Q2 revenue reached $838 million, up 13 percent over Q2 2011 revenue of $744 million. Net income for the second quarter 2012 and 2011 was $3.1 billion and $173 million, respectively.
Meanwhile, Liberty Media announced today it will spin off the cable network Starz into a separately traded public company. "This transaction will provide better transparency on the Starz operating business; optimize the Starz capital structure; permit us to better pursue our strategic objectives, including creating two currencies that could be used for acquisitions; and create significant liquidity at Liberty Media, which preserves all our options with respect to SiriusXM and Live Nation," Liberty Media President/CEO Greg Maffei said in a statement.
Analysts believe this move to spin off Starz may be the latest step towards Liberty acquiring even more of SiriusXM. ISI Group analyst Vijay Jayant told Reuters, "This could also be a logical step toward potentially effecting a merger or Reverse Morris Trust transaction with the remaining Liberty Media assets and Sirius XM Radio. If that is the way the transaction occurs, saddling Sirius with non-strategic assets could be a marginal negative for Sirius shareholders."