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Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei Floated Roughly $15-a-Share Offer for Pandora Media

“We have looked at the business models on a bunch of the streaming companies and found it very hard to see them [as] attractive,” Mr. Maffei told investors at a March conference.

Behind the scenes, it is a more complex story. In recent months, Mr. Maffei floated an offer to internet radio company Pandora Media Inc. P 5.75 % for roughly $15 a share, several dollars more than where shares were trading at the time, people familiar with the matter said. That would have valued the company at more than $3.4 billion.

Mr. Maffei’s bid didn’t have the characteristics of a formal offer, one of the people said, appearing to be more of “a fishing expedition.” Pandora’s board rebuffed the advance, the people said, because it believes the company’s true value is closer to what it was in the fall, when the shares were trading around $20, the person said. Pandora had shopped itself to other potential buyers including Apple Inc. AAPL -0.12 % and Inc. AMZN -0.17 % earlier this year, others familiar with the matter said.

Later, in a private June investor meeting in Denver, Mr. Maffei talked up the benefits of a potential Sirius-Pandora tie-up, according to people who were there. Asked during the meeting why a deal hadn’t been sealed yet, he told attendees, “You’d have to ask the Pandora board.”

Now investors are wondering whether Mr. Maffei will raise...