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Sirius XM Radio Inc (SIRI): This Week in The Company

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Things never get dull for the country’s lone satellite-radio provider. Shares of Sirius XM Radio Inc (NASDAQ:SIRI) moved lower this week, closing 2.3% lower to hit $3.01. The general market moved lower, but it didn’t take as big a hit.

There was more going on beyond the share-price gyrations, though. Sirius XM emerged victorious, again, in its battle with Howard Stern. There was a small shakeup in the media giant’s boardroom. The company struck a deal with Kia to get more buyers of used cars connected. On the streaming music front, Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) crossed a major milestone in registrations, and a report claims that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could now be days away from announcing its first streaming licensing deal.

Let’s take a closer look.

Stern decision
Sirius XM Radio Inc (NASDAQ:SIRI) dodged a $330 million bullet this week, when a state appeals court decided to stand by a trial judge’s original ruling in dismissing a case that pitted Stern’s production company against the satellite-radio provider.

Stern argues that his original contract calls for bonuses based on the number of subscribers Sirius lands. The argument from Stern’s perspective is that he’s eligible for $330 million from the XM subscribers who joined forces with Sirius during the 2008 merger.

He didn’t have much of a shot, especially since XM subscribers don’t have access to Stern’s show on the basic plan. However, one can always argue that Sirius wouldn’t have been the master architect of the merger if it didn’t have Stern.

Either way, shareholders can once again breathe easily in knowing that Sirius XM Radio Inc (NASDAQ:SIRI) — for now — won’t have to shell out on that $330 million claim.

Shake it up
Liberty Media Corp (NASDAQ:LMCA) is doing some more boardroom touchup work. Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei is now taking over as Sirius XM’s chairman.

Sirius XM Radio Inc (SIRI)Liberty Media master architect John Malone and his general counsel executive, Charles Tanabe, won’t go up for board renewal during next month’s annual shareholder meeting. Evan Malone — John’s son — and Discovery Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:DISCA) CEO David Zaslav will take their place.

The moves aren’t earth-shattering. Liberty Media runs this town now.

In the key of Kia
Sirius XM continues to build out its arsenal of major car dealers working to push satellite-radio subscriptions to buyers of used cars. Kia became the latest addition to the Sirius XM Pre-Owned Vehicle Program, in which buyers of secondhand cars with satellite receivers get three free months of the service. Sirius XM’s CFO recently said used-car buyers convert at the same rate as new-auto buyers do, so this a smart way to nab new subscribers without the initial investment of a Sirius or XM receiver.

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