Sirius linking with WorldSpace; coming to Europe?

Sirius’ CEO Mel Karmazin has said Sirius could team up with Liberty Media Corp to take its satellite radio offerings global through a partnership with WorldSpace. WorldSpace is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and a Liberty Media subsidiary now effectively controls WorldSpace.

Karmazin, “We understand that Liberty has expressed an interest in WorldSpace. But if a partnership with Liberty did come about, Sirius would not invest any money. We would put our expertise and experience in the pot and Liberty would put their money in the pot.”

Liberty Media is controlled by John Malone, who rescued Sirius from its own flirt with near-bankruptcy earlier this year with a loan of $520m. Liberty has a 40% stake in Sirius.

Most of WorldSpace satellite radio’s subscribers are in Asia and Africa. “So one would think that if Liberty were to do something there that they would want as strategic partner somebody who has successfully done satellite radio in 5 percent of the world,” Karmazin said. Such a partnership could involve Sirius bringing its relationships with car makers and expertise in building satellite radio gear to WorldSpace’s operations, he added.

Industry observers may remember that shortly before descending into bankruptcy, World Space was in the process of securing terrestrial repeater agreements with several European nations (most notably Italy and Germany) along with an OEM receiver-marketing pact with Italian automaker Fiat. By bringing World Space out of bankruptcy, Liberty’s strong financial position, coupled with its relationship with Sirius/XM could put the company in a position to fast track a European satellite service, with lucrative prospects for expanding into the Indian sub-continent as well.

Via: RapidTVNews, RadioMag.

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