Sirius XM Radio
Sirius just published the proxy materials for its 2011 annual meeting. If the company thought it needed a reverse split in the year ahead, its proxy statement would include instructions for a shareholder vote on it. Last year's proxy included such a question, which shareholders ultimately approved. This time, there's nothing to vote on except standard matters of director elections, auditor selection, and advisory points of executive compensation.
Reverse splits get a bad rap, likely because no company would ever conduct one unless it really had to. It's capitulation -- admitting that you've painted yourself into a corner -- and no one likes to fail. In Sirius' case, the company's unique ownership profile only magnifies such concerns.
Individual investors own a larger share of Sirius than of any other major American company, holding 64% of Sirius's total shares. Compare that to the less than 1% of all Sirius shares owned by insiders, and the roughly 33% held by institutions or mutual funds. That's matched only by petroleum refiner Buckeye Partners, drug developer Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, and regional bank Hampton Roads Bankshares. These are hardly household names, but they're the closest you'll get to a list of similar ownership structures.
By way of comparison, institutional investors own 71% of Apple and 85% of Netflix, which arguably makes them less susceptible to market mood swings -- the big boys should know better than to get carried away with emotions, and they often have strict indexes to shadow anyway.
So the emotional impact of splits -- reverse or otherwise -- would be a market-moving event for Sirius. Safely out of the penny-stock woods since last September, that danger has now passed.
The future of infotainment will be very different from the jumble of analog airwaves we grew up with. Some of it will be digital, as championed by movie maven Netflix, music master Pandora, and many others, but Sirius has carved out a monopoly on high-quality radio content. From Bloomberg and Howard Stern to Metallica and Armin van Buuren, Sirius caters to every taste in nationwide, digital crispness.
Challengers and challenges will rise along the way, of course. The best way to stay informed on Sirius' ups and downs is to add the stock to your watchlist. It's a free service designed to keep you abreast of what's happening to your favorite companies and their stocks. Get started right now by adding Sirius XM Radio to My Watchlist.