Sirius XM ( SIRI) may file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection "within days," according to a published report late Tuesday, as the satellite radio company continues to grapple with outstanding debt. According to a report in The New York Times, Sirius XM has been working with the restructuring expert Joseph Bondi of Alvarez & Marsal and the bankruptcy lawyer Mark Thompson of Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett to help prepare a Chapter 11 filing. The report cited people close to the company, who said documents and analysis are close to being completed and a filing could come within days. After gaining 3.6% during Tuesday's down session, shares of Sirius XM were lower by 2% after hours to 11 cents a share. The Times report comes one week before a chunk of Sirius XM's maturing debt will come due. Sirius XM reduced its total debt due on Feb. 17 to about $175 million, but the future is a bit unclear. The company still has approximately $3.4 billion in debt, with just under $1 billion due before the end of the year, and its stock has fallen sharply since the July merger between Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio. Additionally, reports surfaced last Thursday that EchoStar ( SATS) has acquired a significant portion of Sirius XM's debt and could seize control of the company's attractive assets.
EchoStar, which sells set-top boxes and was the former parent of Dish Network ( DISH), has acquired part of a $300 million tranche of Sirius XM debt set to mature next week, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited "people familiar with the matter." The Journal went on to say that Charles Ergen's EchoStar could also be buying Sirius XM's senior bank debt, which comes due in May.