Cynics punching SIRIQ into their ticker symbol boxes came up empty this week, as Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) was able to avoid filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week. An opportunistic Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LINTA) was able to score great terms in delivering a necessary infusion of capital for the debt-smacked satellite radio operator.

The move buys Sirius XM breathing room, though it's certainly no escape hatch. It still has to overcome debt repayment hurdles later this year. It also needs to convince skeptics that satellite radio can remain a growth industry -- and ultimately a profitable one -- despite the weakness in new car sales.

That won't be easy. The showroom has been a disaster lately. Auto sales fell by 37% last month, with Chrysler and General Motors (NYSE:GM) possibly running out of "Get Out of Bankruptcy Free" cards in asking the government for another $21.6 billion in bailout money this week.

Satellite radio has been a tricky sale outside of the car market, with portable models selling poorly given a plethora of cheaper (although arguably inferior) alternatives. However, for Sirius XM's sake -- and now Liberty with its eventual 40% stake -- let's hope the company doesn't stray from its path to delivering free cash flow as a result of last year's merger.

If not, punching in SIRIQ today will simply be a matter of being fashionably early.

Briefly in the news

And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • Warren Buffett is no turncoat. Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) legendary helmsman may have come off as a bit jingoistic with his "Buy American. I Am" op-ed piece in October, but he is not a traitor just because he sold several American companies this past quarter. This week's 13-F filing shows that he sold some of his positions, but it really was to make room for even deeper values in the stocks and bonds of other stateside companies. Sell low, buy lower? It may not have a nice ring to it, but it is the American way.
  • Bill Gates has been snapping up shares in Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX). The resin footwear specialist is an odd choice, but perhaps Gates sees more holes in Crocs shoes than in its battered business model.
  • There is still growth to be found in China. How else can you explain Baidu's (NASDAQ:BIDU) latest quarter? Revenue soared 58%, despite the company being rocked by an integrity-rattling scandal in November. The company sees year-over-year top-line growth of 36% to 39% during the current quarter. I guess some stocks are like Britney Spears, able to overcome adversity and questionable performances to produce another hit.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz