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This Week in Sirius XM Radio

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Things never get dull for the country's lone satellite-radio provider. Shares of Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI  ) moved higher on the heels of Liberty Media's (NASDAQ: LMCA  ) proposed takeover, climbing 3.6% to close at $3.70. The media darling's gain beat Nasdaq's more modest 1% gain.

There was more going on beyond the share-price gyrations, though. Sirius XM also offered up an encouraging business update, while Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) became the latest car to ink a deal for in-car connectivity. Meanwhile, on the streaming front, Pandora (NYSE: P  ) posted encouraging metrics for December.

Let's take a closer look.

In with the new
Sirius XM revealed that it closed out the year with 25.56 million subscribers. That's less than the 25.82 million members it had on board three months earlier, but it was still 60,000 more than what was implied by its earlier guidance. Self-pay subscribers, on the other hand, grew nicely.

In short, it was better-than-expected news, and that will come in handy if it's able to squeeze a better offer than the meager premium that Liberty Media is proposing to take it out at. 

Sirius XM also initiated its subscriber and free cash flow targets for 2014. It's looking at 1.25 million net subscriber additions and $1.1 billion in free cash flow this year.

One more connected car
It was CES this past week, and lately it's felt more like the Car Engagement Show than the International Consumer Electronics Show. There's a lot of technology making its way into cars, and this week Tesla announced that it's teaming up with AT&T (NYSE: T  ) to offer in-car wireless connections that will be used for various functions including remote engine diagnostics, telematics, and infotainment.

Where does Sirius XM fit in with this news nugget? Well, Tesla and AT&T specifically spell out access to Internet radio directly from the car's 17-inch touchscreen.

The good news for Sirius XM shareholders is that it's been able to grow despite the growing popularity of connected cars. Sirius XM even pointed out last year that conversion and retention rates for owners of Web-savvy cars is just as good as, if not better than, for drivers of other vehicles.

Pandora rock
It was a redemptive month for Pandora in December, as the leading streaming service set new records for unique listeners and hours served.

Claiming 76.2 million unique listeners is an important mark, since it had previously peaked at 72.7 million in September, coinciding with the arrival of iTunes Radio. When the count dipped in October and failed to set a new high in November, it was easy to wonder if Pandora was yielding share to iTunes Radio. If that's the case, then the market itself for streaming audio is growing.

A Sirius future
It was an interesting week for Sirius XM. The new week isn't likely to be dull. In other tech news, the smartphone phenomenon is heating up, and truth be told, one company sits at the crossroads of the technology as we know it. It's not your typical household name, either. In fact, you've probably never even heard of it! But it stands to reap massive profits no matter who ultimately wins the smartphone war. To find out what it is, click here to access the "One Stock You Must Buy Before the iPhone-Android War Escalates Any Further."

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Rick Munarriz

Rick has been writing for Motley Fool since 1995 where he's a Consumer and Tech Stocks Specialist. Yes, that's a long time. He's been an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and a portfolio lead analyst for Motley Fool Supernova since each newsletter service's inception. He earned his BBA and MBA from the University of Miami, and he now lives a block from his alma mater.

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