These days, I can only imagine that writing about Satellite Radio is akin to being a sportswriter in Detroit assigned to covering the the Lions. Reality eventually settles in that hope is meaningless, and yet the season will not end for 5 more cruel weeks.
There has been very little to write about regarding Sirius XM radio lately. I have to admit that I love a good fight, and not having the FCC, NAB or the DOJ to write about has given me a case of writers block. It seems any story is written about the moment it happens by one of my fellow writers at Siriusbuzz, leaving me again searching for story ideas.
To my complete satisfaction, a new fight seems to be starting and I am all too happy to choose a side. An article was recently published by a writer calling for the ousting of Mel Karmazin as Sirius XM CEO, which lacked any real reason for such a recommendation.
For starters, it's all about the share price. As someone with a long position in Sirius XM myself, I am none too pleased with its current severely undervalued stock price. The problem as I see it, is that far too many of the voices crying out for Mel's dismissal have made the mistake of being overweight Sirius XM stock. In many cases I'd venture a guess that SIRI is either their only or largest position. A position that in most cases was taken on the way down, with hopes of great wealth coming with a positive merger announcement. I say too bad. These are mistakes of the investor his/herself, rather than Sirius XM management.
Have you looked at other stocks and the value losses those investors have seen this year? Have you looked at Ford and GM? How about bank stocks? (you can pick one) Not to mention Berkshire Hathaway, who's 52 week high was $151,650.00 and now trades at a lowly $98,000.00. Google's 52 week high of $724.80 now hovers above its 52 week low of $265.00. For those with tunnel vision who think that Sirius is in a world of its own, I can assure you everyone is hurting as a result of the overall negative market conditions and perceived recession/depression.
As for Mel & Co., the report card comes in my opinion not from the stock price but on the company's execution of its business plan. Sirius XM continues to grow revenue, consistantly meeting or beating Wall Street estimates. They have lowered costs, received approval to a merger to monopoly (which Direct TV and DISH failed to do), and have recreated the product in such a way as to promote exceptional value to the consumer.They have done all of this under Mel Karmazin's watch.
This in fact is the first full quarter of a combined XM and Sirius, and despite all the positive news relating to satellite radio, some people would rather create a distraction rather than let the newly formed company operate and succeed. I am forced to ask myself what a person's motivation would be to oust a CEO before his plans could be put into place? Is terrestrial radio THAT afraid of a merged Satellite Radio company? Of course they are! So do your own research rather than rely on an unintelligent article that has little to no basis in fact.
No matter what anyone says, including Mel Karmazin, a great CEO can only run a company in the most effective way possible. No CEO dictates the price of its company's stock. Under Mel's command, Sirius XM continues to grow despite the worst economic environment that most of us will ever live through, which is his job and a job well done I might add.
As for the debt issues facing Sirius XM today; these were put into place long before Mel Karmazin took the helm. He is now faced with the daunting task of cleaning up someone elses mess, and appears to be on his way to doing just that. If a loss in shareholder value were the yardstick used by all companies, the world today would be without CEO's, unless of course, they ran hedge funds.
Position: Long SIRI, F, no other mentioned companies.