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WorldSpace to End Service in India This Week

Has been under bankruptcy protection since October 2008.

Satellite radio service WorldSpace has notified its customers in India its service will end in that country this week.

In an e-mail notice to its 150,000-odd subscribers in India, WorldSpace has said that “on Dec. 31, 2009, the WorldSpace satellite radio broadcast service will be terminated for all customers serviced from India.” It added that “this action is an outgrowth of the financial difficulties facing WorldSpace India’s parent company, WorldSpace Inc., which has been under bankruptcy protection since October 2008.”

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. 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, we’ve reported.

In the notice that is also on its Web site and without using Liberty’s name, WorldSpace stated that the potential buyer of the WorldSpace global assets decided not to purchase those connected with the Indian operation. That’s why WorldSpace is ending its subscriber business in India.

The company goes on to tell subscribers that while it “recognizes that you may have paid for services to be rendered beyond the termination date,” the broadcaster can’t offer a refund for unused portion of a subscription and gives a contact name and address for Indian subscribers to write for possible reimbursement.

WorldSpace India’s revenue last year was pegged at $6 million to $7 million. At 170,000 paying customers, India is the largest market for WorldSpace, amounting to some 95 percent of its global subscribers, reported The Economic Times, which was unable to reach WorldSpace officials for comment.