D-Day has arrived for the struggling satellite radio provider and for the time being, all is not lost. Liberty Media has indeed swooped in and pumped $530 million into Sirius XM in order to prevent the company from defaulting on $175 million in debt owed to Echostar today. Echostar’s Charlie Ergen had offered to take control of the company in an effort to “help” it avoid bankruptcy but the Sirius XM board seemingly wouldn’t even consider Ergen’s offer as a possibility. Instead, Sirius opted to work with Echostar’s biggest competitor – Liberty Media is the majority owner of DIRECTV while Echostar owns and operates the DISH Network fleet of satellites – giving Liberty 40 percent of the company and two seats on its board in exchange for the loan, $250 million of which will be funded today. Zing! Despite the fact that Ergen will get his $175 million in full today, something tells us he won’t be doing the happy dance.
This past week we gave you a brief glimpse into the nightmare that Sirius XM’s business has become and since then things have basically been a cluster… err, mess. Sirius did take a big step in restructuring some of its future debts – $172.5 million that was due in December is now due in June 2011, a move that cost the company 60 million shares of stock. Forget the fact that Sirius XM has $227.5 million of December debt remaining, it also still has $175 million that comes due to Dr. Claw Charlie Ergen and EchoStar this Tuesday and another $350 million due in May. For the time being, the only thing standing between Sirius XM and bankruptcy is Ergen’s willingness to take control of the company, a fate Sirius XM seems to adamantly oppose. But wait! What’s that? A hero emerges to save the day? John Malone and his company Liberty Media are rumored to be in negotiations with Sirius XM at this very moment and may gobble up a healthy chunk of the satellite radio provider’s debt in order to stave off bankruptcy filings or worse yet from the looks of things, Ergen. A quick look at Sirius XM’s near-future debt calendar:
- $175 million due this Tuesday (to EchoStar)
- $350 million due in May (to JPMorgan Chase and UBS AB, among others)
- $227.5 million due in December
- $172.5 million due in June 2011
That’s right folks, a shade under a billion. To make matters slightly worse, the aforementioned shift of $172.5 million that excited investors on Friday is contingent upon Sirius XM paying Ergen on Tuesday. If it doesn’t come up with the dough, no deal. In the end, Tuesday is basically D-Day for the struggling company and either Liberty or a mysterious third-party must swoop in and save the day. In either of those cases however, Sirius XM is merely looking at a band-aid until May when it will have to come up with another $350 million. We hope Mel and the gang have channel 35 programmed as a favorite – they’re going to need it.