Sirius to launch globally? -
John Malone’s Liberty Media is buying the main financial claims against Worldspace. Malone has used a Colorado-registered company, Liberty Satellite Radio LLC, to acquire about $102m-worth of preference claims and court-guaranteed financial advances to Worldspace (as Debtor in Possession).
It is not unusual for businesses to ‘sell’ their bankruptcy claims to a third party. The usual rule of thumb is that it is better to get some cash for a claim where there may be doubt over when – or if – the full debt will be repaid.
However, Liberty Media is also the largest single shareholder in Sirius-XM satellite radio. The Liberty executive handling the purchase is Charles Tanabe, EVP and General Counsel to Liberty Media Corp., and Number 2 to Greg Maffei in the company’s hierarchy.
The transfer of these claims to Liberty brings to full circle the recent history of Worldspace. Sirius’ rival, XM Satellite Radio (now part of Sirius) actually invested $25m in Worldspace, while Sirius itself has never ruled out an international role beyond North America.
Two weeks ago it emerged that the planned sale of Worldspace’s main assets had fallen through. A company controlled by Worldspace’s founder Noah Samara had failed to come up with the $28m he bid to acquire the complete company.
It is not at all clear what this news could mean for the Ondas Media plan to launch a pay-radio service over Europe. Ondas has declined to comment on the Liberty Media action.
Liberty has bought the claims from:
Citadel Equity $48.5m
Highbridge Int’l $38.4m
Angelo Gordon $3m
OZ Master Fund $11.1m