Sirius Satellite Radio Informative - In Sirius Trouble
From the New York Post:
"Nearly two years to the day after announcing a plan to merge, Sirius XM Satellite Radio is plunging headlong into bankruptcy, The Post has learned.
Two sources familiar with the situation said Sirius XM is favoring a Chapter 11 filing over a deal with satellite-TV operator EchoStar, whose CEO, Charlie Ergen, has been buying up Sirius XM debt in a bid to take control of the company.
Sirius XM is working with restructuring firm Alvarez & Marsal and law firm Simpson, Thatcher & Bartlett on the potential bankruptcy filing. Investment bank Evercore Partners is also providing advice.
A spokesman for Sirius XM declined to comment.
Ergen and Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin are two of the media industry's most adroit dealmakers, and news of a potential bankruptcy filing could be nothing more than brinkmanship on Karmazin's part in order to negotiate with Ergen.
"This is a negotiating posture for someone like Mel, who doesn't want to give up control over his own destiny," said RBC Capital Markets analyst David Bank. "It's like a company preparing an initial public offering while simultaneously trying to sell themselves. They're probably just getting the documentation in order if they choose to go that route."
But chicken is a risky game to play with Ergen, a fearless, stone-faced poker player known to see right through a bluff.
As of now, Karmazin's only leverage is a bankruptcy filing, which effectively puts Ergen in the driver's seat.
Sirius XM doesn't have enough cash to make a $175 million debt payment due next Tuesday, and bankruptcy isn't the most attractive option for shareholders, including Karmazin himself, who all would get wiped out.
A better alternative for investors would be a deal with Ergen, though Karmazin last year rebuffed an offer from the EchoStar chief to inject cash into Sirius XM to help the company meet its debt obligations. peter. email@example.com"
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