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Sunday, April 24, 2005

WorldSpace Sets Stock Offering

Seeking to piggyback on the growth of satellite radio in the United States, WorldSpace Inc., a District-based satellite radio service provider with licenses to broadcast in Asia and Africa, last week registered an initial public offering of $100 million of stock with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Founded in 1990, WorldSpace sells subscriptions to its radio service and receivers and leases broadcast capacity on satellites it owns. It does not compete with XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., based in the District, and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. of New York, which hold the only two U.S. satellite radio broadcast licenses.

WorldSpace aims to apply the business model pioneered by XM and Sirius in the United States to India and China, both markets with burgeoning middle classes.

The date and target price for the offering will depend on an SEC review and investor response to the company's presentation of its business plan, said Donald J. Frickel, WorldSpace's general counsel.

Last year, WorldSpace reported revenue of $8.5 million, down from $13 million for 2003, according to SEC filings. It posted net losses of $577 million in 2004 and $217 million in 2003.

WorldSpace was one of XM's original investors in the mid-1990s and licensed technology to XM. It sold its stake in XM in 1999 for $75 million. WorldSpace continues to program four channels for XM, Frickel said.

washingtonpost.com

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