There were two reports issued by analysts today in response to the guidance issued by Sirius XM radio. Analyst Kit spring of Stifel noted that Sirius XM Radio’s guidance exceeds the Stifel model. This could be substantial in that there is at least some indication that sirius XM is being conservative in their numbers.
Spring notes that a stable churn is important, and if the company can maintain stability in churn, even in tough economic times, that it may help give some validity to the business model. Stifel’s spring is maintaining his BUY rating on Sirius XM with a price target of $1.25.
The second anlayst that issued a report today was Mark Wienkes of Goldman Sachs. Wienkes has been highly critical of Sirius X<. and in this report, little has changed.
Wienkes noted that SIRI now estimates 2008 year end subscribers at 19.1 mn versus 19.5 mn previously and that he feels that number is sharply below the Goldman estimat of 19.6 19.6. Wienkes also notes that Sirius XM ended Q2 with 18.6 mn subs, and thus, the new guidance implies only about 500,000 net adds in all of 2H08 vs. 900,000 as previously forecast, and about one-quarter of the 1.95 mn added in 2H07. Wienkes gives no indication as to whether he thinks Sirius XM is being conservative or aggressive in their guidance.
Rather than issue a new price target, Wienkes noted that the Goldman Sachs estimates and price target are under review.
The report stated, “The lowered subscriber outlook reflects both the weak auto market and a higher saturation of natural demand for the product, in our view. We see more signs signaling further caution is prudent for any investor in satellite radio. Specifically, (1) Sirius’ lowered outlook; (2) a pending change in retail distribution partners (yesterday Directed Electronics announced the cessation of its Satellite Radio distribution deal as of 1/2009); (3) Time Warner Cable noted it was seeing a pull back in its premium service offerings; and (4) higher churn at DirecTV”
Position – Long SIRI