Things never get dull for the country's lone satellite-radio provider. Shares of Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI ) moved sharply higher this past week, rising 5.5% to close at $3.86. The media darling's pop was far better than the Nasdaq's 1.7% gain on the week.
There was more going on beyond the share-price gyrations, though. Sirius XM Canada reported strong quarterly results, shorts continued to cover their positions, majority stakeholder Liberty Media (NASDAQ: LMCA ) completed the initial closing of its previously announced stock sale to Sirius XM, and Pandora (NYSE: P ) is gearing up to report quarterly results.
Let's take a closer look.
Canada not so dry
Sirius XM isn't just a hit in the United States. There are now more than 2.4 million satellite-radio subscribers in Canada, and Sirius XM Canada posted its fiscal fourth-quarter results on Thursday. Sirius XM doesn't own its Canadian operations outright. It merely has a minority interest in the venture. Nonetheless, Sirius XM Canada capped off its first full fiscal year of profitability with a strong quarterly showing. Revenue climbed 11%, and adjusted EBITDA soared 47%. The service gained 220,900 net additions during the fiscal year ending in August. An encouraging 1.7 million of those are self-paying accounts.
Naysayers continue to clear out. Nasdaq has issued its latest short interest data this week, showing that there were just 271.1 million shares of the satellite-radio provider sold short as of the end of October. That's the lowest level of bearish activity on Sirius XM over the past year. The number of bearish wagers peaked at 414 million shares back in February.
As big as 271.1 million may seem, it's pretty low given the more than 67 million shares of average daily trading volume on the stock lately.
Liberty for all
Sirius XM has moved to repurchase $4 billion in stock -- and it's nearly halfway done with that -- so Liberty Media has the flexibility to lighten up on its position without losing control of the company.
Liberty Media had already announced that it would sell $500 million of stock to Sirius XM, a move that would still give it ownership of more than 52% of the satellite-radio giant. This week the price was finalized at $3.66 a share. Nearly a third of the shares were bought back on Thursday. Sirius XM will repurchase the balance at that same price early next year. If Sirius XM's price holds firm or move higher, it will be a great deal for existing shareholders, but even if the market price falls, it's still great to see Sirius XM eat away at its huge share count.
Pandora's on deck
The country's leading music-streaming service will offer up fresh financials on Thursday afternoon. After Pandora posted a surprising sequential dip in unique listeners for October -- even though the number of listener hours served hit a new record -- it will be interesting to see whether Pandora offers any insight in how the trend has continued since the mid-September launch of iTunes Radio.
Expectations run high for the quarter itself, with revenue climbing 46% and Pandora's profitability expanding. We'll see how it all plays out on Thursday after the market close.
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