Financially strapped Sirius XM Radio Inc. said Friday that it could file for bankruptcy as early as Tuesday if it cannot successfully negotiate with the holders of its debt.
While the satellite radio company said it has exchanged $172.5 million of debt maturing in December for new debt due in 2011, it still has about $175 million coming due this Sunday.
Sirius is fighting against attempts for control by Charlie Ergen, the chief executive of Dish Network Corp. and sister company EchoStar Corp. Ergen bought much of a $300 million batch of discounted Sirius bonds that come due next week. Sirius had rejected a previous offer by Ergen for control of the company.
A bankruptcy filing for Sirius would give it the right to terminate contracts with on-air talent, such as Martha Stewart and Howard Stern, who has a five-year, $500 million deal. A Chapter 11 filing also could crimp Sirius’ growth because subscribers might shy away from a company in bankruptcy. Sirius has nearly 20 million listeners and provides a wide range of music, sports and talk radio.