Radio titan, home of Stern, in debt $1 billion
Sirius XM Radio has hired advisers to prepare for a possible bankruptcy filing, which could come in days.The New York Times said Tuesday that documents and analysis of a potential Chapter 11 filing are nearly complete. Sirius, whose radio personalities include shock jock Howard Stern, has struggled to refinance its debt load at a time when banks are skittish about lending. About $1 billion in debt comes due this year. A bankruptcy could complicate matters for Dish Network chief exec Charlie Ergen, who recently bought a major portion of a $300 million batch in Sirius debt that matures next Tuesday, the paper said. Since then, speculation has arisen about whether Ergen would make a bid to buy Sirius. The possibility of a bankruptcy filing could force him to make an offer now in order to avoid the auction process in court. It also could put pressure on him to convert his debt into equity in the company at a higher price than he initially considered, the paper said. Sirius has hired Alvarez & Marsal; Simpson, Thatcher & Bartlett; and Evercore Partners. Sirius declined to comment on the report, as did Alvarez & Marsal and Evercore Partners. Simpson, Thatcher & Bartlett didn’t immediately return a call for comment. Shares of Sirius closed at 11¢ on Tuesday.