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From: Glenn Petersen2/21/2016 9:54:18 AM
1 Recommendation   of 8390
 
SiriusXM Fights to Dominate the Dashboard of the Connected Car

By BEN SISARIO
New York Times
FEB. 20, 2016



From left, Howard Stern with James E. Meyer, SiriusXM’s chief executive, and Scott Greenstein, its president. Credit Chad Batka for The New York Times
___________________________________

On the 36th floor of a Midtown Manhattan skyscraper, the actors Ice Cube and Kevin Hart joshed with fans inside a glass-walled radio studio one afternoon last month. They were in the broadcast headquarters of SiriusXM, and across the lobby, near Howard Stern’s dedicated wing, Brooke Shields posed for selfies with three “Sesame Street” puppets, while Senator Rand Paul — at that point, still a candidate for president — hovered with a small entourage. Overhead, a screen announced the imminent arrival of the thrash-metal band Anthrax.

By any measure, it was an odd cross section of pop culture. Surveying the scene, Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s chief content officer, smiled and declared, “This is how I like it — just this diverse.”

At SiriusXM, the satellite-radio network, executives use terms like “mosaic,” “bundle” and, inevitably, “curated” to describe the company’s mix of programming. With more than 175 channels, SiriusXM has much more variety than typical AM/FM radio but a small fraction of the ads. It has channels dedicated to the Grateful Dead and the Metropolitan Opera; five feeds of thumping electronic dance music; every pro baseball, football and basketball game; and, of course, Mr. Stern’s blend of raunchy humor and celebrity interviews. Around the Super Bowl, it had 162 hours of live programming related to the game that ran across 22 shows on 10 channels.



From left, Sway Calloway, Young Thug and Heather B recording at SiriusXM Satellite Radio studios in New York. Apps are threatening the company’s lock on in-car audio entertainment. Credit Chad Batka for The New York Times
__________________________________

Once flirting with bankruptcy, SiriusXM has quietly become a financial powerhouse at a time when other radio and digital music outlets are struggling to make a profit, and also as the behavior of so-called cord cutters — who cancel their cable TV subscriptions to pick and choose their entertainment online (and to save money) — has made Wall Street nervous about the future of bundled media. SiriusXM last year earned $510 million on $4.6 billion in revenue, and renewed major deals with Mr. Stern and the National Football League.

“This has been a remarkable success story against huge odds,” said Barton Crockett, a media analyst with FBR Capital Markets. “Most of the investing public thought there was no way this would work, spending huge amounts of capital to launch satellites and put equipment in cars. But they were right. This is a great business.”

SiriusXM has hit on the formula for getting people — nearly 30 million of them — to pay for radio, a form of media that has always been free. But while the company likes to emphasize the awesomeness of its audio “mosaics,” there is another, more mundane, explanation for its success: cars.

SiriusXM pays about $1 billion a year in subsidies and revenue splits to automakers, and according to the company, 75 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States come with satellite radio installed. (It works with every major carmaker.) Of the 29.6 million subscribers to SiriusXM at the end of last year, 24.2 million paid the $11 to $20 monthly fee themselves, with the rest covered through promotions by car companies.

“If I ask myself two questions every day,” James E. Meyer, SiriusXM’s chief executive, said in an interview, “the first one is, ‘What do I got to do to make sure people pay us $15?’ The second one: ‘What do I need to do to make sure that my position with the auto companies remains strong?’”

Yet cars are changing in ways that could threaten SiriusXM’s position. New technologies, loosely referred to as the connected car, are bringing the Internet to the dashboard. For drivers, that means that various new audio apps — many of them free — will soon be available at a touch. For SiriusXM, that means a lot of new competition in the car, the place where consumers listen to radio the most. This process has already begun, with Apple and Google pushing for their own car media platforms, and Mr. Meyer said that he expected the technology to be in most new cars by the end of this decade. Will listeners still fork over $15 for SiriusXM if they can just as easily tune in to Spotify, Pandora or Beats 1 from Apple?

“The major enemy of SiriusXM these days is Internet radio,” said Jack Nerad, executive editorial director of Kelley Blue Book. “It’s important for Sirius to be in automobiles, but I think that for the car companies, it’s going to be just another programming source.”



Young Thug, center, during a visit to SiriusXM’s studios in New York. Credit Chad Batka for The New York Times
___________________________________________

Mr. Meyer, who spent years managing the company’s relationships with Detroit before he became chief executive in 2012, has been hearing this refrain for a long time. But he said that SiriusXM was well positioned for the change, with plans for a new, more interactive version of its radio system, code-named SXM17, and the advantage of knowing that car companies make changes to their machines very slowly. “Even when you’re Apple,” Mr. Meyer said, “they will still live with the speed carmakers want to go.”

Phil Abram, the chief infotainment officer of General Motors, said that Pandora, as well as platforms like Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, have had no significant effect on how many of its customers subscribe to SiriusXM.

“People like to have a plethora of content,” Mr. Abram said. “One day you might want to listen to music on your iPhone, the next day talk radio, and the next day you want a curated set of music from a company like SiriusXM. We want to try to make it as easy as possible for our customers to enjoy whichever they want.”

Satellite radio’s fortunes have not always been so rosy. After years of planning and investment in the 1990s, the new medium began broadcasting in the early 2000s from two companies, Sirius and XM. For years both lost money as they competed to build their programming slates and sign multimillion-dollar deals with celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart.

The biggest catch, by far, was Mr. Stern, who signed a five-year, $500 million deal with Sirius to begin broadcasting at the start of 2006. His arrival instantly put satellite radio on the map. Sirius and XM merged in 2008 — during the recession, when car sales were plummeting. After nearly going bankrupt under the weight of its debt, the combined SiriusXM was saved by a last-minute infusion of capital from Liberty Media, the cable and entertainment empire controlled by John C. Malone, which in early 2009 lent $530 million in exchange for preferred shares convertible into 40 percent of the common stock of the company.

Gregory B. Maffei, Liberty’s chief executive and the chairman of SiriusXM, recalled that at the time of the deal, a colleague told him, “Either the world ends, or we’re going to make a lot of money.” They made a lot of money. SiriusXM repaid the loans in five months, and the roughly 62 percent stake that Liberty now has in the company — which is formally known as Sirius XM Holdings — is worth about $11 billion.


SiriusXM’s strategy for competing with free radio has been to give people a lot of the radio they like — music, sports, talk, news — and minimize what they do not, namely commercials. That means the station’s programmers do not feel the ratings pressures that bedevil terrestrial radio.



Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, and his wife, Kelley Ashby Paul, right, in the greenroom at SiriusXM’s studios. Credit Chad Batka for The New York Times
__________________________________

“When you don’t have ratings,” Mr. Greenstein said, “you can be very open-minded about your belief in what might be a hit.”

That has freed the network to indulge a deep degree of niche programming, much of it seemingly reflecting an older male demographic, with channels devoted to Billy Joel, Elvis Presley, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. But the network also aggressively goes after young ears, with dance, alternative and pop stations, and relishes its role as the early champion of hot new acts that later go big, like Halsey, Elle King and Chris Stapleton, who just won two Grammys. (Not that things between SiriusXM and the music industry are completely peachy: In 2015 the company also agreed to pay $210 million to settle a lawsuit over royalties for recordings made before 1972, an obscure copyright issue that became a rallying point for older artists.)

Another success story is “Honey, I’m Good,” an ode to monogamy by the clean-cut singer Andy Grammer that came out in late 2014. Steve Greenberg, the president of Mr. Grammer’s label, S-Curve, believed the song had hit potential but was too quirky for terrestrial radio. So he pitched it to Kid Kelly, a SiriusXM programmer, who put the song into heavy rotation on Hits 1, the network’s pop station.

The song caught on and was soon selling 30,000 copies a week, almost entirely because of SiriusXM’s exposure. But in the music business nothing happens in a vacuum, and after a few months, AM/FM stations began playing it, too. The song eventually sold about 2.5 million copies, making it one of the biggest hits of 2015.

The success of “Honey, I’m Good” underscores a fact that is often forgotten in the age of Spotify and YouTube: Radio remains popular and influential — according to Nielsen, 93 percent of adults tune in at least once a week — and music executives say that blanketing stations everywhere is still the most effective way to secure a hit.

“There is absolutely no chance in the world that this record could have launched without the backing of Hits 1,” Mr. Greenberg said of “Honey, I’m Good.” “And there is no way it could have gone Top 10 without the backing of terrestrial radio.”



Chris Russo, host of “Mad Dog Unleashed,” a sports talk show on SiriusXM. Credit Chad Batka for The New York Times
_________________________________

If the connected car is a challenge looming in SiriusXM’s future, the biggest threat in its recent past was the potential loss of Mr. Stern, perhaps the network’s only indispensable star — “the heart and soul of SiriusXM,” as Mr. Greenstein put it.

Mr. Stern’s contract was expiring at the end of last year, and speculation began to spread that he might abandon satellite radio for yet another media frontier. Don Buchwald, Mr. Stern’s agent for more than 30 years, said that he met with dozens of companies, all promising to be an exciting new home for the show. Mr. Stern himself sometimes grumbled on and off the air about whether, at age 62, it was time to retire. Longtime fans have heard this one before, but Mr. Buchwald said it was genuine.

“People think it’s a negotiating ploy, but I can tell you there is reality to it,” said Mr. Buchwald, whose Manhattan office contains decades’ worth of Howard Stern memorabilia, including an enormous cardboard theater stand for the 1997 movie “Private Parts,” released not long after Mr. Stern started calling himself “king of all media.”

“He loved when he did the movie, he loved when he published the books, he loved the TV shows,” Mr. Buchwald continued, “and he’s thinking, ‘Why am I getting up at four o’clock in the morning and doing the same drivel?’”

Adding to the uncertainty about the negotiations was the fact that Mr. Buchwald was unfamiliar with Mr. Meyer, who commutes to New York each week from Indianapolis and has spent his entire career in operations — “All I ever wanted to be was a plant manager,” he said — far away from the world of show business. (He took over from Mel Karmazin, who had a decades-long relationship with Mr. Stern but left SiriusXM in 2012 after battling publicly with Liberty over its plans to take over majority control.)

But Mr. Buchwald said that he and Mr. Stern were charmed by Mr. Meyer’s earnestness, and by SiriusXM’s willingness to experiment with new technology. The deal they agreed to at the end of 2015 would keep Mr. Stern doing his radio show for five more years, and also lock in 12 years of access to Mr. Stern’s audio and video archives, along with new video plans that are still under development.

Neither SiriusXM nor Mr. Buchwald would comment on the specific terms of the deal, but analysts say it could be worth $90 million a year, including salaries and production expenses for Mr. Stern’s team.

Mr. Meyer, whose New York office is mostly bare except for some landscape photos and jerseys of Indianapolis sports teams, was obviously pleased to have renewed Mr. Stern’s contract, which both he and Mr. Buchwald called a particularly complex deal to negotiate.

But Mr. Meyer was also proud of the broader programming surrounding Mr. Stern. He listens to SiriusXM’s classic rock and outlaw country channels, he said, and hardly ever listens to terrestrial radio.

“Too many commercials,” he said.

nytimes.com

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From: Sr K4/18/2016 7:54:48 AM
   of 8390
 
Briefing.com

2:44 am

Liberty Media (LMCA, LMCB, LMCK) completed a previously announced transaction whereby it recapitalized its existing common stock into three new tracking stocks: the Liberty Braves common Stock, the Liberty Media common Stock and the Liberty SiriusXM common Stock.

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From: Sr K5/12/2016 12:11:00 AM
1 Recommendation   of 8390
 
Gabelli & Company "soapbox" on Barron's:

Gabelli & Co.
(this afternoon)
We are initiating coverage and we recommend buying Liberty Media SiriusXM Group stock as an arbitrage on Sirius XM Holdings.

Liberty SiriusXM (ticker: LSXMA ) commenced trading on April 18 as a Liberty Media ( LMCA ) tracking stock. Liberty SiriusXM owns 62.8% — about 3.162 billion shares — of Sirius XM ( SIRI ) and has $200 million of net debt.

We estimate that Liberty SiriusXM is trading at a 10% discount on a mark-to-market basis and a 25% discount on a 2016 mark-to-model basis. Investors are effectively buying Sirius XM for $3.51 per share. We anticipate that the discount should shrink as Liberty Media has been simplified and now allows investors to isolate the assets they are more interested in.

SIRI closed at $3.93 down $.05


barrons.com

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From: Sr K7/22/2016 12:21:20 PM
1 Recommendation   of 8390
 
LSXMA has hit new highs yesterday and today.

High 34.44
Latest 34.32

SIRI 4.195 +.035 after touching the annual high of 4.20

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From: Sr K7/26/2016 9:59:06 AM
   of 8390
 
In the Q2 report today:

During the quarter, the company spent $403 million to repurchase 102 million shares of its common stock, reducing its average share count by 9%.

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From: Sr K7/26/2016 1:31:16 PM
   of 8390
 
All-time highs

Liberty SiriusXM Class A

LSXMA
35.58, latest 35.48 +4.54%
volume 789k

Liberty SiriusXM Class B
LSXMB

36.4362, latest 36.4362 +3.95%
volume 11,907

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From: Sr K10/27/2016 9:05:13 AM
   of 8390
 
October 27, 2016

  • SiriusXM also announced that its Board of Directors declared its first quarterly dividend in the amount of $0.01 per share of common stock payable on November 30, 2016 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on November 9, 2016. The company also announced that the Board of Directors intends to institute a quarterly dividend on its common stock in an aggregate annual amount of $0.04 per share
  • The Board also approved an additional $2 billion of share repurchases,bringing SiriusXM's total repurchase authorization to $10 billion

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    From: Jerseyfish11/1/2016 1:02:41 PM
       of 8390
     
    “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” ~John F. Kennedy

    Sports Supplement Group, Inc. SRSP


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    From: Sr K11/14/2016 10:34:21 AM
       of 8390
     
    52-week high
    4.51

    Highest price since 2002

    4.52

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    From: Glenn Petersen12/3/2016 10:11:26 AM
    1 Recommendation   of 8390
     
    Sirius Approaches Pandora’s Board With Takeover Interest

    by Alex Sherman
    @sherman4949 More stories by Alex Sherman
    and Lucas Shaw
    @Lucas_Shaw More stories by Lucas Shaw
    Bloomberg Technology
    December 2, 2016 — 2:42 PM ESTDecember 2, 2016 — 5:44 PM EST

    -- Board hasn’t responded to new engagement from Greg Maffei

    -- Pandora advisers have begun soliciting interest from buyers



    Sirius XM Holdings Inc. Chairman Greg Maffei recently approached Pandora Media Inc.’s board to express renewed interest in a takeover of the Internet radio provider, according to people familiar with the matter, following up on its offer from earlier this year.

    Sirius’s latest approach didn’t include a price for Pandora, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. Sirius offered about $15 per share to acquire Pandora earlier this year, the person said.

    Pandora hasn’t yet responded to the Sirius approach, the person said. Still, Pandora’s advisers have begun reaching out to other potential suitors, another person said.

    Pandora shares rose earlier Friday after a CNBC report that the company is willing to engage with Sirius. They closed 16 percent higher at $13.33, valuing the company at about $3.1 billion. Sirius fell 5.6 percent to $4.30, giving it a market value of $20.8 billion.

    Pandora hasn’t decided if it will restart talks with Sirius, one of the people said.

    Representatives for Pandora and for Greg Maffei declined to comment. A Sirius spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Since Sirius made its first approach, Pandora has taken steps to shake up its business model as it seeks to placate activist investor Corvex Management LP.

    The company hired Centerview Partners LLC to advise on strategic options, people familiar with the matter said in July. Centerview’s role could be expanded to run a sale process with Morgan Stanley for Pandora, the people said at the time.

    Though Pandora dominates the online radio market it pioneered, the company’s growth has slowed in recent years, at the same time as on-demand services Spotify Ltd. and Apple Music have added millions of users.

    Co-founder Tim Westergren, who returned as Pandora’s chief executive officer in March, is trying to almost quadruple sales to $4 billion by 2020 by going into new businesses, such as ticket sales and concert promotion, while converting free users into paying customers.

    The company made three acquisitions last year to diversify beyond online radio, including ticket seller Ticketfly, and is about to introduce a new on-demand service similar to Spotify.

    bloomberg.com

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