Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) is trying to tell Wall Street that it has an exciting 2013 ahead of it. The problem is that with new management, with a Liberty Media (NASDAQ: LMCA) “takeover” that is not at all your classic takeover, and with a higher and higher share price, it is hard to know if “great” is really good enough. The numbers appear to be set within very reasonable expectations and the investment community has to get used to new leadership here.
For starters, Sirius XM ended with some 23.9 million subscribers and that means that it added the 2 million net subscriber adds in 2012 that Wall Street was expecting. Sirius XM also telegraphed that it met all of its financial goals in 2012. Here are the company’s new subscriber and financial guidance figures for 2013:
Subscriber base to exceed 25 million users in 2013,
Revenue of over $3.7 billion,
Double digit growth in adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow: Adjusted EBITDA of over $1.1 billion and free cash flow approaching $900 million,
Self-pay net subscriber additions of approximately 1.6 million, and
Total net subscriber additions of approximately 1.4 million.
Jim Meyer, the now-CEO of SIRIUS XM said that the 2 million net subscriber adds in 2012 was a record. The breakdown of how that really came was that its self-pay subscriber gains rose by more than 30% in 2012 to more than 1.6 million.
The company also said that it will return substantial capital to stockholders through its $2 billion stock buyback program. It almost seems hard to imagine that Sirius XM is a share buyer when you consider how much it was on the ropes in the recession. Oh well, that was then. Is it a coincidence that Sirius XM saw its stock hit a 52-week and multi-year high of $3.16 today? The prior 52-week trading range was $1.78 to $3.15.
We would caution that the consensus analyst price target at Thomson Reuters is only $3.22 for the 12-months ahead. It was just about one month ago that Goldman Sachs started coverage with a Buy rating and a $3.50 price target. It was back in October that BofA/Merrill Lynch issued a Buy rating and a $3.75 price target.
Will Sirius XM live up to its projections in 2013? That probably depends upon the new car sales in America more than anything else. Honestly, the initial goal for gains in 2013 seem more than attainable. Perhaps the numbers have been sand-bagged to make the targets easy to pass. Stay tuned!