Liberty Media was dealt a blow in its quest to assume de facto control of Sirius XM Radio, the nation’s sole provider of digital satellite radio services, as the FCC dismissed Liberty’s request last Friday as “defective” and “not warranted.” As the largest single stockholder of Sirius, Liberty currently holds preferred shares of Sirius stock that are convertible to a 40% stake. Liberty also controls five of the 13 seats on the Sirius board. Following on the expiration of a standstill agreement that precluded Liberty from seeking control of Sirius without bidding for all of Sirius’ shares, Liberty asked the FCC in March to declare that it held de facto control of Sirius. In documents submitted to the FCC, Liberty cited, as precedent, its previous request for de facto control of DirecTV that was granted by the agency in 2008 and that was based on Liberty’s 40% stake in that company. (Under FCC rules, a shareholder may be deemed to hold de facto control if it holds fewer than 50.01% of a company’s shares yet controls a large enough stake to be considered effectively in charge.) Opposing Liberty’s request, Sirius advised the FCC last month that expiration of the standstill agreement “does not result in a de facto transfer of control” and further observed that, while Liberty is now free to seek full control, “it has not done so.” Dismissing Liberty’s request as unacceptable for filing, Roderick Porter, the chief of the FCC’s International Bureau, explained in a letter that Liberty had failed to obtain from Sirius signatures, passwords and other information needed for Liberty to properly file its application online. The FCC further concluded that Liberty had not demonstrated it “intends to take actions”—such as converting its preferred shares to common stock or acquiring a majority of board seats—that would give it control. Mel Karmazin, the CEO of Sirius XM, denied last week that his company was “combative” with Liberty but stipulated: “if the time comes that Liberty’s interests are different than the other 60 percent of shareholders, we will do what we have to do to protect the interests of our 60 percent of shareholders.” Officials of Liberty, meanwhile, offered no comment.