This morning I attended the Sirius XM annual shareholder meeting. During the meeting Mel Karmazin announced that Sirius XM would be filing a Motion for Summary Judgement on the Howard Stern lawsuit. The court records, submitted later that day, show that there were many filings including the motion and supporting documentation.
One legal matter is the Sirius XM’s request to move the case to the Commercial Division. One interesting thing about this filing is that it states that Stern’s side is seeking “at least $75 million”. This is one of the first times investors are made aware of the financial scope of the matter.
Sirius XM contends that they do not owe Stern any bonuses above and beyond what they have already paid. The company is seeking Summary Judgement. The company offered up several documents including a statement of facts that outlined some interesting things. One of those items of interest is that only 9% of XM’s subscribers (about 1 million) subscribed to “The Best of Sirius”. The other 9 million had no access to the Howard Stern show.
One interesting exhibit in the court filings is a summary of the contact between Stern and Sirius. While many key elements are redacted there is plenty to read. Interestingly the subject of a merger was addressed in the contract and Stern was awarded a payment because of it. The paragraph stated, “In the event Sirius merges with XM Satellite Radio, Sirius shall pay you a fee of ******, whereupon the Howard Stern Program may be broadcast to all subscribers of the surviving company.” It is important to note that XM was the surviving company.
The bottom line is that Sirius XM’s stance appears to be strong given the documents they have elected to share. However, I can not imaging Stern and Buchwald chasing something that they do not feel strongly about, and it will be interesting to see their responses. Mel Karmazin himself stated that the request for summary Judgement would not likely be accepted, and that the matter would continue to move along. This is not to say that he feels that the motion does not have merit (he does think it has merit), but more along the lines of the Court wanting to give both sides their “day in court”.
Readers can view all filings in the matter via the court website .
Stay tuned to SiriusBuzz for continued coverage on this matter.
Position – Long Sirius XM Radio