Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei hinted at share repurchases and dividends when his company takes over Sirius XM Radio but didn't give specific clues as to operational changes.
"It could become the core of what Liberty Media is," Maffei said of Sirius XM, a company Liberty owns more than 49 percent of and will soon purchase enough stock to control.
"Where does this business go for the long term?," Maffei asked Wednesday. "That's something we'll work on, and we'll have the opportunity once we're over 50 (percent), and somewhere down the road we could choose to spin the asset out and have it be a freestanding stock. And at some point that may become logical. But I don't see that as something we need to get done in the near term."
Maffei was speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in Los Angeles a few hours after Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin speculated at the same conference that his reign there is close to over and that LIberty would install a new board of directors.
Maffei said that "operational changes are not our focus" at Sirius XM and that he'd rather "encourage what they have" already been doing there. First, he said, Liberty will "work to leverage the balance sheet."
"I suspect the difference between being at 49 percent and 51 is probably not substantial," Maffei said.