Sirius XM in talks with DirecTV, Liberty: reports

NEW YORK Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:07am EST

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. Chief Executive Mel Karmazin answers questions during the Reuters Media Summit in New York November 30, 2006. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. Chief Executive Mel Karmazin answers questions during the Reuters Media Summit in New York November 30, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sirius XM Radio Inc's Chief Executive Mel Karmazin has approached DirecTV Group Inc and Liberty Media in an effort to fend off bankruptcy as well as a bid by EchoStar Corp's Charlie Ergen, media reports said on Wednesday.

The reports come as Sirius XM faces heavy debt payments ahead, and amid widespread views that a deal with Ergen is the most likely and preferable scenario for the satellite radio provider to avoid bankruptcy.

The New York Times reported that Sirius was in preliminary talks with media mogul John Malone's Liberty Media, while the New York Post said Karmazin asked DirecTV to buy it. Liberty Media controls DirecTV.

The Times, quoting people briefed on the negotiations, said it was not clear how advanced the talks between Sirius XM and Liberty were.

The Post, quoting sources, said Karmazin prefers a deal with DirecTV, as merging with Ergen would force him to give up control.

DirecTV declined to comment, while Sirius XM and Liberty Media officials were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke and Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Gary Hill)

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