John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Sirius: Give Me Liberty or Give Me Ergen

The Sirius XM fiasco is fast becoming high drama. Hoping to avoid bankruptcy and fend off an unsolicited takeover attempt from satellite mogul Charlie Ergen’s EchoStar, which has been acquiring its debt, Sirius has approached Liberty Media about a possible transaction. “People briefed on the negotiations” say talks between the two companies are advanced, but it’s not yet clear how much Liberty would be willing to invest in Sirius and whether it’s even interested in taking control of the company.

Like EchoStar (SATS), Liberty Media’s interest in Sirius (SIRI) revolves around the company’s physical assets–satellite and terrestrial repeaters, towers that bolster satellite radio services with Liberty’s DirectTV (DTV) satellite television services. Said Stanford Group analyst Fred Moran: “All of these companies are satellite-delivered media. If you can cross-market, cross-promote and intertwine services between satellite video and satellite audio, you could strengthen your competitive position.”

Question is, is Liberty Media (LINTA) interested in such a thing and is it willing to repay Sirius XM’s debts and buy out the company’s existing shareholders to do it? If it’s not, Sirius may well be forced into bankruptcy, which company officials reportedly claim is preferable to inking a deal with Ergen and EchoStar. Seems Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin can’t bear the thought of giving up control of the company to Ergen.

Sirius shares are trading higher this morning on the news after being viciously beaten down Wednesday by reports that the satellite radio company is mulling a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.


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