This Week in Sirius XM Radio

Satellite radio is never boring.

Feb 1, 2014 at 9:30AM

Things never get dull for the country's lone satellite-radio provider. Shares of Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) moved lower on the week, sliding 1.6% to close at $3.58. The media darling's dip was worse than the Nasdaq's 0.6% drop on the week.

There was more going on beyond the share-price gyrations, though. Sirius XM saw short interest hit a new low. It expanded its deal with Nissan (NASDAQOTH:NSANY). Howard Stern celebrated his birthday with a celebrity-studded celebration that streamed worldwide. And on the streaming front, Pandora (NYSE:P) got an upgrade from Goldman Sachs.

Let's take a closer look.

She wears short shorts
One thing the Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) proposed buyout has done is clear out the folks betting against Sirius XM. There were 221.6 million shares of the media darling sold short as of mid-January. That may seem like a big number, but it's by the far the stock's lowest short interest over the past year. At the end of February last year, naysayer activity peaked, with more than 414 million shares held short. 

It does make sense that the bears have moved on. Liberty Media's buyout proposal is at an unfortunate pittance of a premium, but it does at least set a bottom for the stock as long as John Malone's media empire doesn't back away. 

I'm turning Japanese -- I really think so
Nissan and Sirius XM have extended their deal, expanding the factory installation in Nissan vehicles as well as pushing the expiration out to 2018.  

It's a smart move for both parties, and it once again speaks to Sirius XM's leverage, since the Sirius merger with XM was finalized nearly six years ago. Auto companies love the incremental revenue that they get from Sirius XM for active subscribers, but they can no longer play Sirius off XM to try to get a better deal. 

Blowing out all 60 candles
The Howard Stern Birthday Bash took place last night, with a star-studded collection of guests. The celebration was made available as a free stream for non-subscribers everywhere around the world, and while it got off to a slow start, things picked up by the end of the more than six-hour broadcast.

Sirius XM CEO Jim Meyer was there, and Stern offered up some kind words by calling him a friend and playing up the collective effort of the satellite-radio company. He certainly didn't sound like someone who will be leaving when his contract is up at the end of next year, but that tone will probably change as we get closer to 2016.

It was still a great opportunity for Sirius XM to shine to its non-subscribers and to set itself up as a global brand if it should ever expand its streaming platform overseas. 

Panning for Pandora
Goldman Sachs upgraded shares of the leading music streaming website on Thursday, sending the stock to a new 52-week high. Analyst Heath Terry writes that that the stock could hit as high as $60 if Pandora is able to double its advertising, make higher-paying local spots a bigger part of the mix, and improve the leverage of its content costs. 

It's a welcome move for a stock that was already one of the market's big winners last year. Pandora should tell us in a few days how its key metrics held up for January.

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Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Goldman Sachs and Pandora Media and owns shares of Liberty Media and Sirius XM Radio. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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