Reuters Summit - Sirius, Liberty could do WorldSpace deal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sirius XM Radio Inc could team up with Liberty Media Corp to take its satellite radio offerings global through a partnership with WorldSpace Inc, Chief Executive Mel Karmazin said on Monday.

“We understand that Liberty has expressed an interest in WorldSpace,” Karmazin said at the Reuters Global Media Summit in New York.

But if a partnership with Liberty does come about, Sirius would not invest any money, he added.

“We would put our expertise and experience in the pot and Liberty would put their money in the pot,” Karmazin said.

Liberty Media, controlled by cable pioneer John Malone, rescued Sirius from a possible bankruptcy filing earlier this year with a loan of $520 million. In return, Liberty secured a 40 percent equity stake in the company.

Through a subsidiary, Liberty Media has also bought up the debt of WorldSpace recently, leading to speculation that Malone would seek to combine Sirius and WorldSpace. 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.

(For summit blog:

Reporting by Anupreeta Das and Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Tiffany Wu and Richard Chang