After languishing in near-penny-stock territory for the last year, Sirius XM Radio stock hit the dollar menu on Wednesday, topping out at $1.05 a share. Investors who bought their stock a year ago when it sold for less than 20 cents are probably cheering. Sirius hasn’t seen the plus size of one buck since September of 2008.
The prevailing opinion on Wall Street seems to be that investors think Sirius XM has finally gotten its financial affairs in order, along with adding a net of 257,000 listeners–more than expected–in the fourth quarter of 2009.
There also seems to be a growing confidence that, despite all the recent hoopla, Howard Stern will sign a new contract with Sirius. I don’t really understand how that’s a strong sign of strength for Sirius, although I guess it can be seen as a indicator of stability. If Sirius has to cough up another $300 million to keep Stern I really wonder if it will really be worth it. Even given Stern’s recent headlines over his claimed invitation to join American Idol, I doubt he has the magnetism to draw a significant number of new listeners. At best, Sirius can hope to hold onto the current crop of die-hard Stern fans.
But, then again, getting the stock price over $1 is only a relative achievement. Although the increase will likely help the company avoid a reverse stock split. Sirius’ viability will depend on how costly it is to retain Stern and how well it can continue to add listeners, despite very few new receivers being announced at last month’s CES.
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