money digest


Sat radio upgrade

JPMorgan Securities on Tuesday upgraded XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio from "neutral" to "overweight," citing subscriber growth and a possible merger. JPMorgan said retail growth after 2006 is expected to slow down but strong original equipment manufacturer growth will result in overall strong subscriber growth. The brokerage forecast more than 14 million subscribers for XM and more than 15 million for Sirius by 2010, driven mainly by automaker deals. JPMorgan added that, over time, new cars with radios would pass on to the used-car market, driving additional subscribers. Sirius advanced 1.2% on Tuesday to $4.15 and XM was up fractionally to $17.14.

Duffy leaving NTL

Cable firm NTL Inc. said Monday that Simon Duffy, who was instrumental as CEO in handling the company's merger with Telewest and acquisition of Virgin Mobile, is leaving the company. The reasons for Duffy's departure were not disclosed. The move comes a year after Duffy was given the executive vice chairman post at a time when Stephen Burch became CEO. Duffy joined NTL as chief operating officer in April 2003 and became CEO four months later. NTL dropped plans to bid for ITV last month after its proposal was rejected by the British broadcaster and rival British Sky Broadcasting took a blocking stake in ITV.

EchoStar redeeming

EchoStar Communications Corp. said Tuesday that it plans to redeem $1 billion in convertible debt that originally was due in 2008. EchoStar, which operates the Dish satellite TV network, said it will redeem the notes by Feb. 15 at a rate of 101.643% of the principal, which will cost the company about $1.02 billion. It did not indicate how it plans to finance the move. EchoStar was up 1.1% on Tuesday at $40.91.