It is with great distress that I put pen to paper, or in this case fingers to keyboard. Sometimes people believe that SiriusBuzz is SiriusPump. Nothing could be further from the truth and the buzz right now, is chapter 11. In a filing with the SEC, Sirius XM states:

  • In the event such uncertainties remain unresolved, management anticipates that KPMG LLP’s auditors’ report relative to the Company’s 2008 consolidated financial statements will contain an explanatory paragraph indicating substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.
  • ... the inclusion of such a paragraph by KPMG LLP would result in a default under certain indebtedness of the Company, XM Holdings and XM Satellite Radio Inc. (“XM Inc.”) which defaults, if not cured or waived prior to the expiration of the applicable grace period, would result in an event of default under other indebtedness of the Company, XM Holdings and XM Inc. Such events of default, if they occur, provide the lenders the right to demand all amounts due under the respective agreements immediately due and payable.

In a nutshell, unless Sirius XM retires its May debt prior to its 10K being released, its only choice is Chapter 11. A simple statement of potential default is reason to cause a default in this case.

A further problem develops as we learn that that company itself is examining whether it makes sense to continue operations under such economic circumstances. All of this had been relative to operational results as of December 31,2008.

Management has not yet completed its evaluation as to whether substantial doubt exists relative to the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period of time. A significant element of that evaluation relates to uncertainties associated with funding of amounts stipulated in the aforementioned Investment Agreements. These uncertainties may not be resolved by the time the Company files its Form 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Unfortunately, auto sales data for the first two months of Q1 2009 shows that it is even more likely that the company will come to the conclusion that it cannot continue operations under its current debt and contractual obligations. A 9.1 million run rate and 1.7% churn rate equal a net loss of nearly 2 million subscribers in 2009 by my calculations, which have been heavily challenged in the SiriusBuzz forums.

I have used the following assumptions in my calculations:

9.1 million auto sold times 50 % penetration rate = 4,550,000 new installations.

4,550,000 new installations times 50% penetration (currently running below that) = 2,275,000 new oem subscribers.

21,000,000 subscribers times 1.7 % monthly churn = 4,284,000 deactivated subscribers.

4,284,000 - 2,275,000 = 2,009,000 subscribers to be lost in 2009

As for any talk of why Malone would have stepped in. The answer may be as simple as intending to keep the assets out of the hands of Charles Ergen, so that some form of Sirius might emerge after bankruptcy.

Position: Long Sirius XM