Mel Karmazin, the irrepressible chief executive of Sirius XM Radio, worked his phone all last week from his corner office on the 37th floor of the McGraw-Hill building, just above Howard Sternâ„¢s studio. Å“Get John Malone on the line, he shouted to his assistant. Ten minutes later, he was calling Å“Charlie “ as in Charles W. Ergen of EchoStar Communications, the owner of Dish Network.
Mr. Karmazin, a born salesman, wasnâ„¢t just jabbering “ he was battling to prevent bankruptcy at Sirius XM, the satellite radio giant he had fought to create by merging Sirius and XM Radio less than a year ago.
Mr. Ergen, his longtime nemesis, had cleverly bought up $175 million of Sirius XMâ„¢s debt, knowing full well that Mr. Karmazin couldnâ„¢t afford the payments, so he could turn around and try to take control of the company.