This excerpt taken from the SIRI DEF 14A filed Nov 4, 2008.
Payments to Named Executive Officers Upon Termination or Change in Control
The employment agreements we entered into with our named executive officers provide for severance payments and, in connection with a severance that occurs after a change in control, additional payments (including tax gross-up payments to protect certain named executive officers from so-called golden parachute excise taxes that could arise in such circumstances). These arrangements vary from executive to executive due to individual negotiations based on executive history and individual circumstances.
We believe that these severance and change-in-control arrangements mitigate some of the risk that exists for executives working in a nascent industry. These arrangements are intended to attract and retain qualified executives who could have other job alternatives that may appear to them, in the absence of these arrangements, to be less risky.
There is a possibility that we could be acquired in the future. Accordingly, we believe that severance payments in connection with a change in control are necessary to enable key executives to evaluate objectively the benefits to our stockholders of a proposed transaction, notwithstanding its potential effects on their own job security.