Real Housewives Reality Show Considering Wall Street?
Kyle is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
“…keep your friends close but your enemies closer.” – Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part II
This is almost reality show worthy. I definitely think one of the business “news” channels should have someone in their creative departments considering this. If not, I’m going to require a finder’s fee for my new show, “The Real CEOs of New York City.” Just have a few camera crews follow a select group of corporate titans around each day as they provide deliriously delicious drama.
Sirius XM (NASDAQ: SIRI), CEO Mel Karmazin, who has stated in the past that he wouldn’t want to work for anyone, may have a power play in the making with Liberty Media Corporation (NASDAQ: STRZA), Chairman and Executive Committee member, John C. Malone. Liberty just upped their stake in Sirius XM by more than a few million shares (bought at a $2.15 per share premium), bringing their percentage from 40% to a shade over 46% in the satellite radio company. They currently occupy five chairs at the director’s table (which currently seats 13 comfortably), and it is clear Malone and Liberty would like a majority of that office furniture. Whether that’s just two more seats isn’t known as of yet, but the fact that this course of action wasn’t known to Sirius XM may have Karmazin squirming in his place at the head of the table a little bit.
This isn’t the first foray into boardroom head-butting for either executive. Karmazin clearly wasn’t a fan of answering to Founder and Chief Executive of CBS Corporation, Sumner Redstone, whose ram horns were clearly the better after witnessing Mel take the high road after three years with Sumner. Malone isn’t one to shy away from a “fight” either, entering the ring on more than one occasion with News Corp. giant head, Rupert Murdoch. And for Malone, it’s obviously not “show friends," it’s “show business,” just ask IAC /InterActive Corp. head Barry Diller, when Liberty Media, once a substantial shareholder with IAC, unsuccessfully attempted a takeover of Diller’s darling. Malone and Diller were more than mere acquaintances prior to their 2008 drama, which ultimately ended up in a courtroom full of lawyers, judges and all the pageantry that comes with power plays when the individuals have equal amounts of testosterone coursing through their bodies.
High school shenanigans and overly-sensitive hurt feelings aside, situations like these, as well as Carl Icahn and Chesapeake Energy CEO, Aubrey McClendon are actually worthy of our attention, even if it’s just to watch an after-school dustup behind the gymnasium. Whenever these moments scroll across the business ticker, take note, because it could be an opportunity or a red flag for the companies involved. It’s also a huge distraction for the entities and their personnel, regardless of how many employees or shareholders are seen giving the thumbs-up sign at their annual meetings. Staying the course and going about day-to-day business is difficult enough, but with takeover rumors and accusations being thrown around that resemble a student body presidential smear campaign, morale and productivity can’t be at their highest.
So even if you aren’t a reality show fan, keep your eyes and ears open for further developments from the potential face-offs we may have in store. If the result is an all-out fight, considerable resources could possibly be funding a planned offensive, which in turn, will require an expensive response from the defense. In the end, it could mean better days for shareholders, but not until the dust settles.
Motley Fool blogger Kyle Metivier has a long position with Sirius XM. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.