Sirius XM Holds Talks With Liberty Media

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Posted by on February 11, 2009 at 22:27:34:

In Reply to: Sirius XM Prepares Bankruptcy Filing posted by Bleep on February 10, 2009 at 17:58:24:

Sirius XM Holds Talks With Liberty Media

February 11, 2009, 6:55 pm

Liberty Media, the media company controlled by John C. Malone, is in preliminary talks with the satellite radio giant Sirius XM Radio, people briefed on the negotiations told DealBook.

A deal between Liberty and Sirius XM could throw a wrench in takeover plans by EchoStar, the television satellite company that has been acquiring Sirius XM's debt.

The high drama comes at a critical time for Sirius XM, which faces $175 million in debt payments that will come due on Feb. 17. The company is unlikely to be able to meet those obligations.

Mel Karmazin, Sirius XM's chief executive, has been locked in talks with Charles W. Ergen, his counterpart at EchoStar, these people said. The two men are said to not get along, and Mr. Karmazin has rebuffed Mr. Ergen's advances before.

While EchoStar's proposal to Sirius XM is unclear, it may be no better for the satellite radio's company's bondholders than a bankruptcy filing, people close to the company said. Sirius XM hired advisers several weeks ago to prepare for a potential bankruptcy filing, which could come within days, these people said.

It is not clear how advanced the talks between Sirius XM and Liberty are, but any potential deal between the two could spark a bidding war with EchoStar. Because EchoStar holds a large portion of Sirius XM's debt - a majority of the $175 million due on Feb. 17 and part of a $400 million tranche that comes due in December - it may have an upper hand in any such negotiations.

-Andrew Ross Sorkin and Zachery Kouwe, NY Times

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