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Sirius, Liberty Interested in WorldSpace Partnership

Karmazin tells Reuters event about the idea

Sirius XM, combined with Liberty Media Corp., could take its satellite radio service global through a partnership with financially struggling WorldSpace, the Maryland-based overseas satellite radio company that operates the Afristar and AsiaStar satellites.

That’s according to Sirius XM President/CEO Mel Karmazin. He told the Reuters Global Media Summit in New York that Liberty “expressed an interest” in the global satcaster.

Sirius would lend only its expertise — such as building satellite radios or its relationships with automakers — towards the effort, and not money, according to Karmazin, who says Liberty would contribute funds towards any WorldSpace deal.

Through its subsidiary Liberty Satellite Radio, Liberty Media has purchased all of WorldSpace debt recently, leading to speculation that Liberty Chairman John Malone intends to combine the two satcasters.

Liberty Media 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 Sirius XM.