This Week in Sirius XM Radio

Things never get dull for the country's lone satellite-radio provider. Shares of Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI  ) rode higher with the market in general, hitting a six-year high and soaring 3.4% to close the week at $3.94. The media darling's pop was more than double the Nasdaq's 1.4% gain on the week.

There was more going on beyond the share-price gyrations, though. Sirius XM completed a debt offering that will help it lower the interest it has to shell out. Pandora (NYSE: P  ) also hit an all-time high despite pricing a secondary stock offering. And Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) made iTunes Radio available on Wednesday.

Let's take a closer look.

Debt on it
Sirius XM has been able to take advantage of its improving credit over the years, and the low-interest-rate environment has only helped it lower its interest expense line item. 

Sirius XM did it again this week, issuing $650 million in senior notes that will be due in 2020 at an attractive interest rate of 5.875%. Remember when Sirius XM had to take out debt to save its hide four years ago at 15% and it still had to hand over a 40% preferred share stake in the company?

You've come a long way, Sirius XM. 

That's what happens when credit-rating agency Moody's bestows a B1 credit rating on a company's debt in this climate where rates are still near historic lows.

More importantly for Sirius XM, it's going to take this money and use it to pay off its outstanding 7.625% notes due in 2018. There's nothing too shabby about extending your debt repayment by a couple of years with lower interest payments along the way.

Keep on moving
Sirius XM traded as high as $3.99 on Friday. You have to go all the way back to early 2007 to find the last time the shares traded that high, and that was before the merger between Sirius and XM.

Pandora also hit fresh highs this week. When shares of the streaming music leader hit $27.50 on Thursday, it finally took out the all-time highs set shortly after its IPO two years ago. Pandora managed to hit a new peak even after announcing a secondary stock offering that eventually priced at a discounted $25 per share. 

Apple jacked
When Apple pushed out its iOS 7 update, it also rolled out its Pandora-like iTunes Radio. Offering ad-supported streaming is something Apple should have done years ago, and now it will be interesting to see whether it can make a difference with a product that isn't all that different from what's already available.

Another hurdle for iTunes Radio is that it's available only on PCs and iOS devices. That will limit its reach by ignoring the Android devices that now power the majority of smartphones and tablets in the country.

Apple clearly has a worthy pedigree, with 2003's introduction of the iconic iTunes Music Store, but that may not be enough in a niche where there are plenty of well-liked alternatives. 

It was an interesting week for Sirius XM. The new week isn't likely to be dull.

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  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2013, at 11:22 AM, Austin77478 wrote:

    Rick, a short time ago, You wrote about how some demographic won't be buying cars anymore. After that post, the car sales for that month was a record in many years. Now, you just wrote a favorable article about Sirius. Come on man!!!

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