Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI) was so close to shaking Nasdaq off its back.

Facing exchange delisting if it couldn't close at or above the $1 mark for 10 consecutive trading days, the satellite radio company's streak of trading to the left of the decimal ended after eight trading days this week.

This doesn't mean that Sirius XM will be banished to the pink sheets. It can, and no doubt will, appeal the decision. A successful extension there will buy it six more months. It also has a reverse split it can turn to, though CEO Mel Karmazin didn't seem enamored with that idea during last week's conference call.

It doesn't matter that (Nasdaq: PCLN), Steak n Shake (NYSE: SNS), and Coeur d'Alene Mines (NYSE: CDE) have honorably executed reverse splits and lived to tell about it. There is still a stigma to reverse splits that Karmazin wants to avoid.

"It's possible we will requalify under the Nasdaq continued listing criteria with 10 consecutive days over $1," Karmazin explained while there was still hope to stretch out the company's dollar-menu streak. "If that were to happen, we would obviously not pursue a reverse stock split."


Even if Sirius XM had managed to stretch its steak to 10 straight trading days above the buck, this is still a company with too many shares outstanding. Between the fully diluted common stock and Liberty Capital's (Nasdaq: LCAPA) 40% stake, there's the equivalent of 6.5 billion Sirius XM shares.

There is no value difference between 650 million shares at $10 or 6.5 billion shares at $1, but the move would attract greater institutional ownership and coverage from firms that avoid low-priced stocks.

Now that Sirius XM doesn't have a chance to be in compliance by mid-March, the ball is in the exchange's court. I've said it before, but I can't see Nasdaq OMX Group (Nasdaq: NDAQ) booting one of its most actively traded stocks. It will grant it the extension, then come up with something else in six months if Sirius XM isn't in compliance.

Instituting a minimum market cap regardless of share price for compliance would probably be the easiest exchange fix. Then again, nothing is easy with the exchanges these days.

Will Nasdaq delist Sirius XM this year? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a subscriber to both Sirius and XM. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. He is also a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out the next great growth stock early in its defiance. The Fool has a disclosure policy.