Major Players Trading Sirius XM Shares

| About: Sirius XM (SIRI)

According to NASDAQ's latest data from the end of Q3, 456 institutions own a total of 1,817,333,613 shares of Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI). That is actually down from Q2 by 183 million shares. The major player that "dumped" the most shares was UBS AG (NYSE:UBS). As you can see from the chart below, the company sold almost 258 million shares last quarter:

Sirius XM Radio Institutional Ownership (Top 15)

VALUE (in 1000's)

VANGUARD GROUP INC 9/30/12 172,838,113 3,282,089 1.94 458,021
SAC CAPITAL ADVISORS LP 9/30/12 131,376,600 16,897,064 14.76 348,148
WELLINGTON MANAGEMENT CO LLP 9/30/12 128,310,072 (894,860) (0.69) 340,022
BARCLAYS GLOBAL INVESTOR UK HOLDINGS LTD 9/30/12 87,587,648 535,547 0.62 232,107
FMR LLC 9/30/12 84,759,511 42,945847 102.71 224,613
BLUE RIDGE CAPITAL LLC 9/30/12 78,800,000 0 0.00 208,820
COOPERMAN LEON G 9/30/12 63,932,303 5,399,800 9.23 169,421
STATE STREET CORP 9/30/12 58,973,011 2,584,169 4.5 156,278
COATUE MANAGEMENT LLC 9/3012 50,232,181 (10,061,474) (16.69) 133,115
INVESCO LTD 9/30/12 48,376,971 180,319 0 .37 128,199
UBS AG 9/30/12 46,078,974 (257,926,180) (84.84) 122,109
GLENVIEW CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LLC 9/30/12 40,182,920 12,849,000 47.01 106,485
TPG-AXON MANAGEMENT LP 9/30/12 31,843,031 (55,480,469) (63.53) 84,384
HHR ASSET MANAGEMENT LLC 9/30/12 31,474,300 540,500 1.75 83,407
FRED ALGER MANAGEMENT INC 9/30/12 28,219,146 28,210,679 - 74,781

Many investors suspected that UBS was the "secret partner" in the Liberty Media (LMCA) forward agreement earlier this year. Consider this from Stephen Faulkner:

It is important to mention that the stake held by UBS AG of 304 million shares was likely reduced greatly when Liberty Media took possession of 302 million shares in a forward contract in July. UBS is the only holder who could have provided that quantity of shares, and this is likely where Liberty got them. I will be expecting Q3 to show a net outflow of shares simply based on this huge block move from UBS, to Liberty, and that should be seriously considered once the data from the third quarter arrives.

So, if this is true, and that forward agreement of 302 million shares is backed out of the totals, institutional ownership actually went up. But be careful when you look at the numbers on this. When Faulkner wrote his article, institutional ownership was at 52%. Now NASDAQ shows it at 35%. This is because Liberty converted half of its preferred shares to common shares which made the common share count go to up to 5.2 billion.

Since USB sold those shares, Vanguard Group is now the largest institutional owner of Sirius. Also, FMR added almost 43 million additional shares last quarter, while Wellington, another major player, sold almost 900 thousand shares.

Chart forSIRIUS XM Radio Inc.

Another interesting development is that Sirius short positions increased. The latest numbers from NASDAQ show short positions as of October 31 at almost 298 million shares, up from almost 275 million shares on October 15. This was before the Presidential election, and the widely publicized fiscal cliff dilemma that this country is in, so I expect those numbers to be even higher on the next report. Ironically when the stock starts going back up, that will cause a short squeeze. Combine that with the impending share buybacks, and the shares should hit $3.50 when the buyback is officially announced.

Many analysts think that we will go over that cliff on January 1. Both sides seemed unwilling to negotiate on whether to increase taxes on the top two percent. However, after talks on Friday, chatter on the street hints that the Republicans may allow more revenue in exchange for significant spending cuts.

I don't think that these fiscal problems will hurt Sirius that much. Some shareholders may be forced to sell because of different financial situations, but the service is reasonably priced, and has a very loyal following. And new cars continue to sell at an accelerating rate. Most people will still be able to afford to keep their $15 subscription, even if Uncle Sam takes a big bite out of their check in January. Right now the shares have dropped due to "panic selling" that is affecting the entire market, but that should end soon. So consider this another buying opportunity.

That is what Liberty is doing. According to documents filed late Friday, it bought 27 million shares on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The company also bought a few million shares earlier in the week bringing it closer to the 50% mark which will give it full de jure control of Sirius, once the FCC gives full approval. This continued accumulation of shares offers Sirius investors a nice safety net during this volatile fiscal situation. If you do not already own a piece of this tech company, this is a perfect time to take a position before it takes off -- which could be any day now.

Disclosure: I am long SIRI. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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