When the financials of Sirius crossed the wires at 7:00 AM, things were looking pretty good in the world of satellite radio. Sirius had posted a good quarter, beat the street on many metrics, and the scaling of the business model seemed evident. The press even seemed impressed with headlines such as "Sirius Narrows Losses". The pre market trading was positive, and it seemed everyone was anticipating a call where investors could finally get more detail after 18 months of waiting.
Then the call happened. It was a very average call, and actually did very little to entice the street. Synergies of $400,000,000 were once again spoken of, but no meat and potatoes were given on the plans that would be executed to get there. After a drawn out merger process where guidance was scant and generalized, investors were in hopes of seeing something real and tangible. It unfortunately did not materialize in this call.
To be fair, the merger is new, but still, some point blank discussion was needed, and instead we saw blandness. Yes, there were promises about news forthcoming that will be released over the coming months, but this being an election year, and with a bad economy, people want to touch and feel their information.
Mel Karmazin is a brilliant business man. He has been the driver of success throughout his career. People want to bet on him, but the dollars are simply less discretionary than before, and like or not, people, as well as institutions are far more stingy when it comes to where they are putting their money.
I felt going in that this call could be somewhat of a foundation for the merged company to set the standards and stage for how the performance going forward would be measured. I was looking for a series of steps that would lead to the big picture. Steps that were track-able and quantifiable. Instead, I got simply the big picture.
Now, my frustration with the call does not mean that I, or others do not still see the big picture. I think most everyone sees the potential. What investors are trying to figure out is how rocky the road is on the way to the big picture. The company, in my opinion, needed to provide the "pathway" that gets us all to where we want to be. Instead of saying that there would be "savings on nearly every line item", we needed to hear a few of the bigger points where these savings are anticipated, and in what magnitude. We don't need exact figures, but instead a series of general ideas that outline the existence of a plan.
If I was grading the quarter I would give it a "B". The numbers were impressive enough that people could see demonstrated progress in the company. It was a good stand alone quarter, and the thought that the merger would bring about synergies made the future look brighter. If I were grading the call, I would give it a "C". There simply was nothing that carried excitement and anticipation after the call.
Perhaps we will see greater details in the coming days.
Position - Long SIRI