Echostar’s Ergen: I Might Let Mel Karmazin Keep His Job


Echostar’s Charlie Ergen and Liberty’s John Malone continue to tug at the carcass of Sirius (SIRI).  It sounds as though Charlie has the upper hand, perhaps by throwing in the provision that he’ll let Mel Karmazin keep his job (temporarily).

In any event, Sirius’s $175 million bond repayment is due Tuesday. If Mel can’t get a deal done by then…poof.

WSJ: Sirius XM Radio Inc. has significantly narrowed the divide in talks with satellite mogul Charles Ergen over a deal to save the company from a bankruptcy filing. But the country’s sole satellite-radio operator continues to discuss a rival offer from Liberty Media Inc., according to people familiar with the situation.

While the gap between what Mr. Ergen has proposed and Sirius has asked for is narrow, the two sides haven’t reached agreement yet on other, nonfinancial issues, these people said. Mr. Ergen is prepared to let Sirius Chief Executive Mel Karmazin keep his job…

Mr. Ergen, who controls Dish Network Corp. and EchoStar Corp., has offered to inject about $500 million into Sirius and restructure the debt he holds in the company in return for control. The offer is contingent on the successful renegotiation of about $600 million in Sirius bank loans and about $200 million in other debt.

Under Liberty’s proposal, the company wouldn’t acquire Sirius outright or seek to pair it with DirectTV Group Inc., the satellite-TV provider Liberty controls. Liberty would make an investment that would enable Sirius to meet its credit obligations in return for a sizable stake, one person close to the situation said. Neither offer involves buying out Sirius’s equity holders.