It's Been a Long February for Sirius XM


As February comes to a close, it hasn't felt like the shortest month of the year for Sirius XM Radio investors.

Things have been pretty eventful for the satellite radio provider this month. Things kicked off with a strong fourth quarter report. Net income more than doubled as revenue climbed 14% to $892.4 million.

However, that's not the only thing that's been happening at Sirius XM or with ramifications for the company in February. Let's take a quick tour of the month that was.

  • Music royalty rates inched higher on Feb. 1. Sirius XM passes on the escalating rates imposed by the music industry, and that means that the monthly royalty charge tacked on top of the base rate went from $1.42 to $1.81 on the most popular Select and Premier pricing plans starting with this month's billing cycle. Higher rates may scare investors, but churn held steady last year despite an even larger increase in base rates in January of last year.

  • Sirius XM began the month with 401.6 million shares sold short. It's the first time that short interest topped 400 million in more than a year.

  • Pandora's CEO had some kind words to say about Sirius XM at a Goldman Sachs tech conference. Joe Kennedy was asked if Pandora and Sirius XM are comparable -- given Pandora's fast-growing popularity and its rapid integration into automotive dashboard systems -- and he offered that Sirius XM has invested a lot in news, talk, sports, and other content. Pandora offers an entirely different value proposition.

  • General Motors turned heads earlier this week at the Mobile World Congress by announcing that it's offering 4G LTE connectivity to most of its Chevy, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles that will begin rolling out later next year. This could be interpreted as an opportunity for Sirius XM's growing streaming initiatives or a threat given the growing popularity of free and nearly free streaming apps.

Louder than actions or words
It's also important to cover the things that did not happen.

  • Despite gaining regulatory approval to acquire a majority stake in Sirius XM -- and doing exactly that -- last month, Liberty Media has been surprisingly quiet.

  • A record number of bearish wagers may have been rooting against Sirius XM when the month began, but there was no short squeeze. In a month where most of the news was positive, Sirius XM still finds itself trading lower on the month with two trading days left.

  • There was plenty of chatter about Apple introducing a streaming service that would compete with Pandora; Sirius XM's personalized radio, Spotify; and other online platforms. Reports have been circulating since late last year detailing negotiations that Apple is having with record label executives. Nothing has happened on that front.

Now let's see what March brings -- and what it doesn't.

Sirius and deep
Despite Sirius XM being one of the market's biggest winners since bottoming out three years ago, there is still some healthy upside to be had if things go right for it -- and plenty of room for it to fall if things don't. Read all about Sirius in our brand-new premium report. To get started, just click here now.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz owns shares of Liberty Media. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple. It also recommends General Motors. 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.

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