It's fun to play Cupid on national television, but it's also important to be a realistic matchmaker. It was Mel Karmazin playing a modern-day Emma on CNBC's Squawk Box on Wednesday morning. The media guru was discussing Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) -- a company he knows all too well because he ran it until three years ago -- and he brought up Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as a potential acquirer.
He was initially arguing that Apple could pry Howard Stern away from Sirius XM once his contract expires in two months, but then he suggested that the consumer electronics giant should just go on and swallow Sirius XM whole.
Karmazin didn't get into the specifics, and it's easy to see why -- because the deal just wouldn't work. Sure, Apple is good for the money. It has $205.7 billion in cash and marketable securities. Apple can buy whatever it wants.
A prolific subscription-based monopoly would also look great on its arm. Apple is trying to get its Apple Music streaming platform off the ground, but with 6.5 million paying subscribers, it will take a long time before it catches up to the industry's two leading players. Snapping up Sirius XM Radio and its 29 million subscribers would give it more premium accounts than Spotify and Pandora combined.
Neat, huh? It's never going to happen.
For starters, let's talk about the availability of Sirius XM as a buyout candidate. Every company has its price, but Sirius XM's board -- and shareholders -- would rightfully expect a fat premium to get taken out. This isn't early 2009, with Sirius XM barely clinging to life. It recently hit an eight-year high. Sirius XM commands an enterprise value of roughly $27 billion.
The stock has been better than an 80-bagger since bottoming out six years ago. Do you really think it's going to accept $30 billion, or even $35 billion, to punch out?
If Sirius XM's subscriptions had peaked, or if it wasn't generating record gobs of earnings and free cash flow, it might be considering an exit strategy at a fire-sale price. That's not Sirius XM right now. Do you really think Apple would offer $40 billion to corner the market on a platform that it sees being ultimately replaced by the streaming alternative that it's now championing?
There are some synergies that would be realized, but what do you think would be Mr. Market's reaction to Apple's stock if it decided to spend $35 billion or $40 billion for the satellite radio provider? It would have to pay three times the forward earnings multiple on its own stock, even though Sirius XM isn't necessarily growing its revenue much faster.
Apple doesn't need Sirius XM, and the feeling is mutual. The combination wouldn't make sense for either party.
Come on, Karmazin. Sirius XM has done a great job by staying independent. It should stay that way.
Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple and Pandora Media. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.