Thu, Feb 19, 2009
XM WX Inflight Weather Safe For Now
Sirius XM -- which provides satellite radio subscription
service to about 19 million subscribers, and weather services to a
growing number of pilots -- has been saved from bankruptcy, at
least for now.
ANN reported that preparations for a
bankruptcy filing were underway as a February 17 deadline loomed
for repayment of a $175 million note. Dish Network Chairman Charles
Ergen, who had bought up $350 million in Sirius XM debt, appeared
to be positioning to take the company over.
But the Washington Post reports Dish network competitor Liberty
Media, which owns DirectTV and the Discovery channel, loaned Sirius
XM $530 million dollars. That covered the immediate crisis, and
will cover much of another payment due in May.
Sirius XM still faces a $400 million debt note that comes due in
December, however... so the company's long-term future still
remains very much in doubt.
The bread-and-butter market for Sirius is the automobile
industry. Sirius XM radio systems installed in new vehicles make up
the largest customer base among the roughly 20 million subscribers,
who each pay a monthly fee to listen to hundreds of channels of
entertainment and news programming... but to date, that revenue has
come nowhere close to covering Sirius' extravagant startup
Sirius inherited XM WX inflight satellite weather when it bought
out its former competitor, XM Radio, in November 2007.
The deal gives Liberty a 40 percent interest in Sirius XM, and
two immediate seats on the company's board of directors.
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