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Friday, December 10, 2010

SIRI: Stern Stays With Sirius

After weeks of posturing and months of speculation, Howard Stern has announced that he will remain with SiriusXM, the company that paid him half a billion dollars to flee terrestrial radio for the regulatory safety of satellite five years ago.

Terms of the deal were undisclosed, although it was announced by SiriusXM that they will now be able to stream Stern's broadcasts to mobile devices.

The private details of the agreement will leave many wondering if Stern actually did receive the pay cut that he so vehemently denied he deserved during recent broadcasts, but any decrease from a $500 million deal isn't going to garner any sympathy from the general public. 

As Major Payne once said, if you want sympathy, look in the dictionary between the words - well, can't expound on that quote here.

The SiriusXM share price closed higher by seven cents at $1.39, but the increase was deceiving since that closing price was still lower than the closing prices of earlier in the week.

In essence, the Stern news was received by the market as a non-factor, as it should've been received - a far cry from five years ago when the Stern signing launched the SIRI share price to nine dollars.

It made too much sense for Stern to remain with the satellite radio enterprise.  The pay-for-radio airwaves have allowed him the freedom to step outside the boundaries of free-radio regulation, even moreso for his over-the-top sidekicks and guests that enjoy pushing the limits on a daily basis.

A peak into the future financial reports will probably give investors an idea of what the actual terms of this deal were, but there's no doubt that it will probably still be considered too much.  With the economy and car sales on the rebound and new, quality content signed, SiriusXM has made itself a viable entertainment brand that would survive - if not thrive - with or without Stern. 

The self-proclaimed "King of All Media" can reign the pay-to-listen airwaves for another five years with the newly minted contract, or at least until listeners decide that it's a little creepy that a guy his age has twenty year old bikini clad honeys bouncing around his studio with sex toys.

Volume was big during Thursday's trading after the announcement, but an investment in SIRI is not one based on Stern remaining with the company - I'd consider it a nice touch to alleviate short term volatility, but it wasn't a necessary touch.

Disclosure:  Long SIRI. 

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