SiriusXM Grows Subscribers, Earnings in Third Quarter

Jim Meyer CEO Sirius XM 2013 P

The satellite radio giant, led by CEO Jim Meyer, also sets a dividend, expands its stock buyback program and provides an update on the planned launch of a Howard Stern video service.

Satellite radio giant SiriusXM, which is controlled by John Malone's Liberty Media, on Thursday reported higher third-quarter earnings and said it added 345,000 net new subscribers in the period.

The company, the home of Howard Stern, reported a 16 percent gain in quarterly earnings to $194 million, or 4 cents per share, up from 3 cents in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, another profitability metric, reached $492 million, up 10 percent. Revenue for the quarter rose 9 percent to $1.3 billion.

The company said it ended September with nearly 31 million subscribers, and on its earnings call, management said it has crossed that mark as of Thursday.

SiriusXM also unveiled that its board has declared its first quarterly dividend of 1 cent per share and approved an additional $2 billion in stock buybacks, bringing the total repurchase authorization to $10 billion.

The company had previously raised its full-year 2016 guidance to 1.7 million total net new subscribers, up from prior expectations for 1.6 million, which was already up from the company's original expectation. It reiterated the subscriber target on Thursday and increased its full-year revenue guidance to about $5 billion and its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to about $1.85 billion.

"SiriusXM's performance in the third quarter was exemplary," said CEO Jim Meyer. "Our business is operating more efficiently than ever before, and we are pleased to increase our revenue and adjusted EBITDA guidance for the second time this year."

He added: "We remain dedicated to bringing the best audio entertainment in an easy-to-use bundle of programming to a nation of listeners. In recent months, we've strengthened areas where we are leaders, such as country music, added new talent in talk programming and held special, one-of-a kind live music events for subscribers and listeners nationwide — all content you can only find at SiriusXM."

On Thursday's earnings call, Meyer was asked about the start date and status of the planned Howard Stern video service, whose launch the company has pushed into 2017. "We don't have that date lined up yet," he said. "We are deep into it. … We are also getting that in a position where we can begin to have more conversations with Howard himself, and clearly we will launch our video service with Howard. No question there. I hope I have more to say about this in the next couple of months, but you should assume it's sometime next year."