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paidContent.org - Reports: Liberty Media-Sirius XM In Talks

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Staci D. Kramer
paidContent.org
Thursday, February 12, 2009; 3:06 AM

Charlie Ergen's top competitor may get in the way of his efforts to take control of Sirius XM (NSDQ: SIRI) Radio. Liberty Media (NSDQ: LINTA), majority owner of DirecTV (NYSE: DTV), and Sirius XM are in "preliminary" talks, DealBook reports, citing "people briefed on the negotiations." Ergen is chairman of DISH and EchoStar (NSDQ: SATS), which were split into two companies last year. DirecTV already has a relationship with the satellite radio company, offering XM channels in its own packages. At the very least, competition from Liberty could make it more expensive for Ergen to gain control of the sat radio company. Liberty has its own complications and is in the midst of its own reorganization to gain value for assets that include DirecTV, Starz Entertainment, and Liberty Sports Holdings. Liberty's current investment in both content and distribution could make it a better fit with Sirius XM but would Liberty shareholders have the patience to add a troubled company laden with debt to the mix? More after the jump...

Technically, of course, Ergen's DISH Network and DirecTV compete with all other multichannel video providers but when it comes to head-on competition, the two satellite companies have been at it for years no matter who has owned DirecTV.

Update: WSJ: "Though the talks between Sirius and Liberty are advanced, a deal remains far from certain, a person familiar with the matter said. It wasn't clear how much Liberty would be willing to invest in Sirius and whether it would end up with control. Mr. Malone is known as a careful negotiator and is unlikely to cut a deal in haste."

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