UPDATE 4-Sirius XM mum on Stern, beats estimates

* Profit, revenue beat analysts’ estimates

* Ended Q3 with 19.8 million subscribers

* Sales rise 15 percent

* Discussions continue with Stern – CEO

* Shares fall 6.4 percent
(Adds analyst comments; updates share price)

By Liana B. Baker

NEW YORK, Nov 4 (BestGrowthStock) – Sirius XM Radio Inc (SIRI.O: )
posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as more
customers than usual retained their satellite radio
subscriptions after promotions ended, but its shares fell 6.4
percent on the lack of news about Howard Stern’s contract

“We do not have any update today, other than to say
discussions continue,” Chief Executive Mel Karmazin said during
a conference call.

Shares of Sirius, one of the most traded stocks on the
Nasdaq, fell 10 cents to close at $1.47.

Radio shock-jock Stern’s 5-year, $500 million contract with
Sirius XM Radio expires in December and investors have
expressed concern that subscribers would abandon the service if
Stern were to move on. [ID:nN03137272]

“The fact they didn’t announce anything on Howard was a
disappointment given how much the stock had run,” said John
Tinker, a Maxim Group analyst.

Sirius shares had rallied about 16 percent since October 22
ahead of its quarterly results, analysts said.

CEO Karmazin called Stern a “great partner,” but said
Sirius XM attracts subscribers “every day because of the
content we have on our 130-plus channels” and not just because
of Stern.

Karmazin emphasized that recovering auto sales would be a
benefit to Sirius XM, which tallies many new subscriptions from
buyers of new cars that have the radios installed.

On Wednesday, it was reported that U.S. auto sales rose 13
percent in October, the best month of the year, led by a 19
percent gain at Ford Motor Co (F.N: ). [ID:nN0398672]


Excluding items, the satellite radio company posted a
third-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.) of 2 cents a share, which beat analysts’
estimates for the company to break even, according to Thomson
Reuters I/B/E/S.

This is Sirius’ fourth straight quarter of profit as it
steadily adds subscribers and distances itself from years of
huge losses and questions about its business model. It said it
had 19.8 million subscribers in the third quarter.

Net income was $67.6 million, up from a loss of $151.5
million a year earlier.

The company, which is also home to programming by Oprah
Winfrey, earned total adjusted revenue of $722.5 million in the
quarter, up 15 percent from a year ago, and beating analysts
expectations of about $719 million.

Sirius XM spent less on acquiring subscribers during the
quarter, which Lazard Capital Markets analyst Barton Crockett
said provided a “huge upside surprise.”

The subscriber acquisition cost fell 14 percent to $59 from
$69 last year.

“They spent a lot less on subscriber additions, which means
they are making more money,” Crockett said.

Sirius XM has also shown it can get customers to commit to
its service after its starter promotions end.

The conversion rate of trial subscribers who became full
paying subscribers climbed to 48.1 percent in the third quarter
of 2010, up from 46.2 percent a year earlier.

Sirius XM maintained its full-year revenue outlook of $2.8
billion, which was in line with analysts’ estimates. It also
raised its full-year earnings before interest, taxes,
depreciation and amortization, a measure of cash flow, to $600
million from $575 million.
(Reporting by Liana B. Baker; Editing by Dave Zimmerman,
Maureen Bavdek and Richard Chang)

UPDATE 4-Sirius XM mum on Stern, beats estimates