Who said the old dog can't hunt?

I hate to see what the bonuses are gonna look like this year . . . but, in Mel speak . . . I would much rather have had a good year and pay the bonuses than to have not had a good year in which no bonuses were earned (see-see, I'm getting the hang of it Mel!)

S&P upgrades rating on Sirius XM Radio, cites improved operating performance

On Friday December 10, 2010, 5:17 pm
NEW YORK (AP) -- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Friday boosted its corporate credit rating on Sirius XM Radio Inc. and its subsidiaries, citing the satellite radio broadcaster's improved operating performance and declining debt leverage.

The ratings firm raised the rating to "BB-" from "B+" on the New York company and subsidiaries XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Inc.

The firm's outlook on the company is stable.

S&P credit analyst Hal Diamond said the improved rating also reflects prospects Sirius's credit measures will improve further next year.

Sirius XM had $3 billion in debt as of Sept. 30.

S&P expects Sirius XM's debt leverage will remain relatively high and that the business will continue to be capital intensive through the end of next year.

The firm sees the company's business risk profile as fair, as Sirius XM's growth hinges on U.S. auto sales and consumer discretionary spending.

Sirius XM's position as the only U.S. satellite radio operator, its operating synergies and cost savings arising from the 2008 acquisition of XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. are modest positives that do not offset these risks, S&P noted.

In addition, Sirius XM faces significant challenges, including getting and keeping more subscribers.

Still, S&P said the satellite radio company's renewal of its five-year contract with radio talk show host Howard Stern will help it stem subscriber losses.

Sirius has bounced back some after being hit by the slumping economy. It posted a profit in the third quarter, reversing a loss from last year. It signed up 334,727 subscribers in the quarter, up from 102,295 in 2009, and it was able to trim its turnover rate.

Sirius shares added a penny to $1.40 on Friday.