Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) is on the road again.
The satellite radio provider is announcing this morning that it will shell out $530 million for Agero's connected vehicle services business.
Agero is happy. It will be getting a lot of money, and it can redeploy that infusion into its core roadside assistance business. Sirius XM shareholders will probably be even happier.
The media giant has made no bones about its interest in telematics. Ever since it announced a partnership with Nissan last summer to provide premium telematics services, it's been clear that Sirius XM is gunning for General Motors' (NYSE:GM) OnStar business.
It's easy to see why providing everything from vehicle tracking to emergency support to infotainment is attractive to Sirius XM. OnStar's cheapest rate -- going up from $18.95 a month to $19.95 in two months -- is more than anyone's paying for satellite radio. If Sirius XM can get even a sliver of its more than 25 million subscribers to pay more for telematics, the boost in average revenue per user will be substantial.
It's also about more than just the current listeners.
Sirius XM receivers are already installed in more than 50 million cars, but just half of those are active. For owners of cars with dormant receivers, premium radio may not be a compelling value proposition, but useful navigation, assistance, and information could sway them to finally initiate a relationship with the media giant.
Sirius XM has been talking about acquisitions for a couple of years. It's in a great position to go shopping. It's generating a lot of money, on track to produce $915 million in free cash flow this year alone. Sirius XM also has billions in net operating losses that it can use to offset the tax bite on future pre-tax profits, so if it can run Agero's connected vehicle services unit profitably, it will go straight to the bottom line.
It's a great move by Sirius XM, placing it in telematics relationships with several leading car manufacturers with which it already has a working relationship through its satellite radio platform.
Sirius XM is a road warrior, and no investor should be mad to see it maxing its potential.