Liberty Buys in to World Space

November 4, 2009

The sad financial saga of bankrupt satellite radio broadcaster World Space took a new and interesting turn involving Liberty Media, a diverse group that controls satcaster Directv and also counts a substantial interest in Sirius XM satellite radio among its many holdings.

According to a recent report by Chris Forretser in RapidTV News, World Space's bankruptcy had taken yet another downward turn as attorneys in the case filed with the Delaware bankruptcy court last month for additional debtor in possession (DIP) financing in order to avoid a total liquidation of assets. Answering that call for cash is Liberty, which has reportedly stepped up with sufficient funding to stave off liquidation and effectively take control of the company, which continues to operate under Chapter 11 protection.

In a similar move last February, Liberty rode to an 11th hour rescue of Sirius XM with a $530 million cash infusion, a move that resulted in Liberty executives John Malone and Greg Maffi assuming seats on Sirius' board of directors.

The timing of Liberty's current move is interesting in that it came on the heels of a Mel Karmazin denial that Sirius had any interest in World Space.

Recent stories percolating in financial trade publications suggest that World Space's existing service to India, along with some preliminary agreements to launch subscription services in Europe inked before the company's bankruptcy, are driving Liberty's actions. India is generally viewed as one of the world's largest and fastest growing media markets.

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