Quite a bit has happened to satellite radio over the past year. First, we had two companies vying for your dollars and then, in a ridiculously long merger process, the two companies finally became one.
Since then, the new Sirius XM has tried to find its footing in a world where terrestrial radio still reigns supreme and advertising dollars aren't floating around as much as they did last year. And to make matters worse, the company is forced to pay Howard Stern $100 million per year on a total subscriber base of about 19.1 million by the end of the year -- not the kind of numbers that would attract advertisers, let alone shareholders.
Following that, we can't forget that the company's share price is at a woeful $0.26 and $1 billion in debt is coming due in 2009 as the company posted a huge $4.88 billion loss. Sirius XM is working on refinancing and recently reduced a $300 million note to $210 million, but its troubles persist.
And although it sounds like the company is facing enough issues already, this whole discussion has left out an important piece of the puzzle: automotive sales are declining at a rapid rate, there are no signs of that slowing down next year, and America's three major car manufacturers -- Ford, Daimler-Chrysler, and GM -- are hoping the U.S. government will bail them out. And considering most people listen to Sirius XM Radio in the car, the company is feeling the effects.
So what can really be done? Should Sirius XM dump Howard Stern and other prominent radio personalities and stick to music? Should Sirius XM call it a day and try to sell its operation to the highest bidder? Or should Sirius XM forge ahead with its current strategy and hope against hope that everything will be OK?
To answer those questions won't be easy. But at this point, I simply don't know how Sirius XM can survive unless it does something drastic.… Read more