Sirius closing gap on XM

Sat radio station totals 5.1 mil subs

Sirius outpaced bigger rival XM for subs last quarter, but neither one gained any ground with investors.

In the three months ending Sept. 30, Sirius, the sat radio home of Howard Stern, the NFL, NBA and NHL, added 441,000 subs, bringing its total to more than 5.1 million.

XM gained a more modest 285,000 subs in the same time period. Its total number of subscribers is now 7.2 million.

Sirius, which has been gaining ground on XM thanks to its pricey acquisition of exclusive sports content and Stern, expects to significantly outpace its larger rival during the holiday period.

Guidance calls for it to add 1.2 million more subs by the end of the year, while XM is telling investors it will add between 500,000 and 1 million.

Neither reported third-quarter financials, but Wall Streeters were clearly worried about the cost of acquiring all those subs. Sirius stock fell 3% to $3.94 and XM declined 5% to $11.96.

Both companies have seentheir stock plummet this year amidst heavy losses.

XM also was dinged Wednesday by the unexpected resignation of George W. Haywood, a private investor who owns about 1.5% of the company’s outstanding stock.

In a statement, Haywood said he supports XM’s current direction and management. Satcaster will have to select another independent board member to replace him in order to comply with SEC regulations that a majority of its board members be from outside the company.

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