Blog Post

Sirius Takes Investment From Liberty, Not EchoStar

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Liberty Media (NSDQ: LINTA) has reached a deal to invest $530 million in Sirius XM, ending weeks of speculation over whether Liberty or EchoStar would emerge as Sirius’ white knight. The deal allows Sirius, which has been bogged down with debt problems, to avoid bankruptcy (at least for now). The investment will come in the form of loans and preferred stock convertible into 40 percent of Sirius common stock.

The deal calls for investments in two phases:

— First, a $280 million senior secured loan with a 15 percent interest rate will be issued to Sirius today. Of that, $171.6 million will be used by Sirius to repay a loan to EchoStar (NSDQ: SATS). The remaining funds will be used for everyday operations.

— Second, a $150 million loan will be given to Sirius through its wholly owned XM subsidiary; Sirius will get an additional $100 million loan to re-pay debt outstanding from its existing credit facility.

Sirius shares will likely jump on the news. Malone makes the investment without gaining control of Sirius (though he does get seats on the board), underscoring his confidence in satellite radio as a standalone business.

Sirius was forced to do the deal with Liberty because it had nearly $200 million in debt due today that it could not repay and an additional $400 million due in December of this year. The investment from John Malone’s Liberty (pictured) enables the company to re-pay the debt due today and provides it with cash to put toward the debt due in December.

Speculation has been swirling the past couple of weeks about whether Sirius would be forced into bankruptcy or find a last-minute investor to provide it with some cash and breathing room to deal with its debt issues. Charlie Ergen, who controls Echostar, first emerged as the most likely investor, having bought Sirius debt in recent weeks; he simultaneously was trying to come to a separate deal that involved a cash investment in Sirius (NSDQ: SIRI). But late last week Malone came into the picture. Though many people (including us) posited that Malone’s involvement was probably a ploy by Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin to gain negotiating leverage with Ergen, the talks were obviously real.

3 Responses to “Sirius Takes Investment From Liberty, Not EchoStar”

  1. As a sirius XM stock owner, I hope that this deal works out. We bought into Sirius because we beleive in the product, and enjoy the variety. Local radio cannot compete.
    Good Luck

  2. I disagree with ya whoindatgarden; all cars made from any country around the world have deals with Sirius simply because it is far superior technology than terrestral radio in content, talent, features, and advertising dollars! Not to mention the fact that this technology works exactly the same globally?! Those living in florishing parts of the world will soon be able to take advantage of the Satellites in place while you cower in your doldrum.

  3. whoindatgarden

    Well Sirius will be dead sooner or later. Its subscription based model will die within 3 yrs as the country spirals down further into the doldrums.If they can get Howard Stern to do a deal worth 1 buck a day maybe they can survive for a year.
    It has never made a profit and the best place for it is in the garbage dump. John Malone & Co all have used all sorts of financial shenanigans to get to where they are and it is going to come to a halt very soon. Valuations of these companies have been wrong from the get go and need to be brought down by at the minimum of 75%.
    I would short the stock big time if I had the cash.