Sirius XM warns it may seek bankruptcy protection Tuesday

Embattled satellite radio giant Sirius XM Radio said Friday it may be forced to file for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday if it is unable to restructure debt due later this year.

Embattled satellite radio giant Sirius XM Radio said Friday it may be forced to file for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday if it is unable to restructure debt due later this year.

Sirius XM, created when two competing companies — Sirius and XM — merged, has more than $5 billion US in assets. But the company has never made money and is carrying a debt of about $3.25 billion US.

The company said Friday it was attempting to refinance about $172.5 million US of debt due in December 2009, but that the transaction may not happen.

"If these transactions are not consummated, [the company] may be forced to file for bankruptcy protection as early as Feb. 17, 2009," Sirius XM said in a statement.

Rival satellite radio companies Sirius and XM merged last year because of financial difficulties. In Canada, they're still separate companies, and there are questions about what will happen to their Canadian listeners if the U.S. parent goes bust.

In Canada, Sirius, which is 40 per cent owned by the CBC, and XM remain two separate companies. Sirius XM pumps out music and entertainment on more than 100 channels every day. CBC Radio One and Radio 3 are among the stations carried by Sirius Canada.

They will be able to continue to provide the same range of satellite radio stations they have provided since their launch in 2005, XM Canada president Michael Moscowitz said Tuesday.

Under bankruptcy protection, XM Sirius in the U.S. should keep broadcasting as usual, he told CBC News.

The Canadian satellite radio services have licensing deals to broadcast a selection of the U.S. stations, as well as Canadian channels.