One thing is certain: Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) has made its intentions to take control of Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI) crystal clear. With Liberty filing for de jure control, the writing is now on the wall. The only real questions left are when and how it will all happen.
Get ready for some speculation. Liberty Media could already have all of the shares it needs - either in its possession or under contract. That's right, it is actually very possible that a third not yet announced forward purchase contract exists that would encompass enough shares for Liberty to make its move.
Before shooting the messenger, take a look at a few anecdotal pieces of evidence that may point to this very theory as having some merit:
Volume on Sirius XM had a massive upswing in the last couple of weeks, with some days being up to 6 times the average. There was even a 300-million share day in the mix. The volume had quite an impressive run. In each of Liberty's previous forward purchase contracts, volume spikes happened as well.
Small Open Market Purchase
Another interesting fact is the relatively small open market purchase of just over 4 million shares a week ago. In previous open market buys, Liberty bought substantially more stock. Could it be that it needed just a small additional position, that when added to all other shares would get them into the proper position? The small size of last week's open market purchase simply struck me as odd.
History Helps Predict The Future
Liberty Media has done two previous forward purchase contracts that the Street was not aware of until after. Both times the news came as a surprise to investors. If that strategy has worked previously, why would Liberty re-invent the wheel?
Having A Contract In Hand Makes Sense
Think about it, Liberty has applied to the FCC for de jure control of Sirius XM. The commission could offer up a ruling at any time. It makes sense to be ready for that event and not be subjected to a condition where the Street knows that shares will be in demand. Why would Liberty subject itself to uncertainty when a simple contract could erase it from the equation? In the very unlikely event that the FCC denies Liberty, the forward contract could simply be cashed out instead of converted into shares.
What This Means To Siri Shareholders
There has been a general excitement of sorts amongst many Sirius XM investors. Some see dollar signs because they feel that Liberty will need 125 million more shares and the price of the equity will rise. If Liberty has a contract in place already, such a run may not materialize.
Of course, if this theory is not true, then there could be a run on shares that Liberty would need. The point here is that investors should consider both sides of this equation and have a plan ready for either contingency. I know looking at the conservative side of things can be a downer sometimes, but I assure you that when you are prepared, it is far better than being disappointed if a move takes you by surprise.
These are important points to ponder and prepare for.
Disclosure: I am long LMCA, SIRI. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.