Sirius XM Radio Grows Subs, Profit in First Quarter

58 BIZ Mel Karmazin
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UPDATED: The satellite radio giant boosted its full-year subscriber growth forecast, CEO Mel Karmazin addressed an FCC showdown with shareholder Liberty Media.

Satellite radio company Sirius XM Radio on Tuesday reported improved first-quarter financials and continued subscriber growth.

The company added 405,000 subscribers to end March with a user base of 22.3 million. 

Sirius recorded a quarterly profit of $108 million, up 38 percent compared with $78 million in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 11 percent to a record $805 illion.

"Sirius XM is starting the year with tremendous operational momentum," said Karmazin. "We grew subscribers faster than any first quarter since our 2008 merger of Sirius and XM."

Amid continuing strong auto sales trends, Sirius raised its full-year subscriber growth forecast from 1.3 million to 1.5 million. "Rising auto sales and our strong execution should enable us to exceed our prior 2012 subscriber growth guidance," Karmazin said.

On the company's earnings conference call, Karmazin was asked about the FCC petition submitted by the company's largest shareholder, John Malone’s Liberty Media, which wants to take control of Sirius' licenses. While Liberty, which holds a 40 percent stake in Sirius, has argued that it has “de facto control” of the firm, Karmazin said that was "absolutely" not the case. "40 is not the new 50.”

Karmazin said he has no insight into why Liberty filed the FCC petition. But if Liberty's interests run counter to the other shareholders , "we will do whatever we can do to protect the interest of our 60 percent shareholders,” he vowed.


Twitter: @georgszalai