Radio digitale, USA: Sirius XM continua a lottare con i debiti

(Radio Passioni) – La lenta e penosa manovra di avvicinamento di Sirius XM al break even, al pareggio in bilancio, ha raggiunto ieri una nuova tappa quando la società ormai unica fornitrice di servizi di radiofonia digitale satellitare ha annunciato l’emissione di note di credito per un totale di 250 milioni di dollari. Le note verranno proposte a investitori istituzionali qualificati e serviranno a ripagare parte del debito che Sirius XM aveva contratto con Liberty Media nel corso del 2009 per salvarsi dall’amministrazione controllata. La scorsa settimana l’azienda guidata da Mel Karmazin aveva pubblicato l’ennesima trimestrale in rosso in una spirale debitoria che le impedisce per il momento di far leva sugli introiti del suo parco abbonati, tra l’altro in calo a causa dell’attuale situazione del mercato dell’auto. I ricevitori satellitari vengono installati a bordo dei veicoli nuovi e di questi tempi le vendite di automobili non vanno propriamente a gonfie vele. La notizia della perdita viene compensata per Karmazin da diversi segnali positivi, incluso il completamento dell’acquisizione di XM Satellite e la diminuzione del costo-per-nuovo-abbonato. Anche le azioni Sirius vanno leggermente meglio al Nasdaq, dove avevano raggiunto un minimo di 5 centesimi. Il titolo è sceso sotto il dollaro dallo scorso settembre, ma oggi vale più di 50 cents.
Nel 1992 uno degli slogan con cui Bill Clinton riuscì a evitare la rielezione di George Bush padre fu "it’s the economy, stupid". In fin dei conti è lo stesso principio che ha portato alla sconfitta del figlio e che dovrebbe essere incorniciato e appeso in tutti gli uffici di chi si occupa di radio digitale.

Sirius XM Radio offers $250 mln notes to repay debt
Wed Aug 12, 2009

* Sirius to offer $250 mln in senior secured notes
* Net proceeds to repay Liberty Media Corp

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 12 (Reuters) – Sirius XM Radio Inc on Thursday said it would offer $250 million in senior secured notes with net proceeds going to repay some of its debt obligations to Liberty Media Corp.
The notes, which will come due in 2015, will be offered to qualified institutional buyers to repay certain debt under its credit agreement with Liberty Media Corp.
Earlier this year Sirius secured millions in financing from John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp, which owns TV home shopping network QVC.
Pay-radio operator Sirius, which hosts programs by Howard Stern and Oprah Winfrey as well as Major League Baseball, reported a second quarter loss last week due to debt-related charges and a floundering auto industry.
Shares in New York-based Sirius closed up 2.64 percent at 51 cents on the Nasdaq and were flat after-hours.


Sirius XM posts net loss but raises outlook

By Franklin Paul – Thu Aug 6

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Sirius XM Radio Inc. on Thursday posted a second-quarter loss on debt-related charges and the auto industry slowdown, but the pay-radio operator said it sees signs of a recovery and raised its 2009 outlook for operating earnings.
Shares of Sirius, which have traded for less than $1 since last September, slipped about 4 percent after the company reported a net loss attributable to common shareholders of $157.3 million, or 4 cents a share.
Excluding $108 million of debt-related charges and other special items, the company lost 1 cent a share, matching analysts estimates, according to Reuters Estimates.
The company, which earlier this year secured financing from John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp to stave off looming debt problems, said subscribers to the pay-radio service declined by 186,000 from the first quarter, better than many analyst expectations.
Cost-cutting — reflected in a drop in the cost of acquiring a new subscriber to $57 from $71 a year ago — was a primary driver of the company’s improved financial results.
On the revenue side, Sirius XM Chief Executive Mel Karmazin said he sees positive potential for subscription sales as the beleaguered auto industry inches toward a revival.
"Declines (in car sales) appear to have bottomed out," he said on a conference call with analysts. "Production schedules are resuming, ‘cash for clunker’ programs are working and we are cautiously optimistic that the second half of 2009 will show improvement."
Sirius XM, home to programs by Howard Stern and Oprah Winfrey as well as Major League Baseball, ended the period with 18.4 million subscribers. It marked an increase in original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers from a year ago — those gains from radios built into new cars — but its sales to customers who buy radios in stores fell sharply.
"While (the decline) improved sequentially on signs of auto stabilization, the impact seems muted by retail channel decay," said Standard & Poor’s analyst Tuna Amobi.
Pro forma revenue rose 1 percent to $607.8 million, on par with analysts’ views. The pro forma figures reflect the fact that Sirius completed its purchase of rival XM Satellite Radio last July and compare the latest results as if they were a single company a year ago, also making some accounting adjustments for the transaction.
It raised its 2009 outlook for adjusted income from operations to more than $400 million, fueled by accelerated cost-cutting. It was the second time it lifted the forecast, after raising it in May to $350 million from $300 million.
"We think the stronger subs performance, as well as better-than-expected profitability, in the quarter, suggests this number should be attainable," J.P. Morgan analyst Lev Polinsky said in a note to clients.
The outlook improvement comes as more subscribers to Sirius signed up for premium programing packages and on higher prices for users with multiple subscriptions.
In addition, churn, a measure of the number of customers who quit the service, increased from one year ago, but, at 2.0 percent was smaller than in the first quarter, and better than some analysts expectations.
Shares traded at about 52 cents each on Nasdaq, down from 54 cents on Wednesday.
The stock has climbed from a 52-week low of 5 cents a share in February, after Malone’s cash infusion allayed fears the company could become insolvent. In August the stock rallied further, fueled by optimism about new revenue streams, the launch of its iPhone software and the "cash for clunkers" car-buying program.

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