For those who have access to and watch level 2 quotes, today's trading on Monday, December 3rd in shares of Sirius XM (SIRI) may look a bit different. Something is notably missing.
What's missing, you ask? UBS (UBS) is missing. It typically fills the bid and ask on every price point as "UBSS", just like the standard Nasdaq quote under "NSDQ."
So what? Well, it's important to make note that the other times that this has happened in 2012, UBS was filling forward contracts for Liberty Media (LMCA). The first came earlier in the year, when UBS arguably filled the 302 million share forward contract which Liberty announced in May and took possession of months later. The other was a smaller 40 million share block which Liberty recently took possession of. These forward contract filling periods coincided with UBS being absent from level 2 quotes as it was filling these contracts.
It would be my assumption that, absent a one day fluke, UBS is filling a third and what I would assume is final forward contract in order to secure shares of Sirius XM for Liberty Media. Although Liberty has been buying shares on the open market for some time now, it is dangerously close to passing 50% ownership. This is a move it may not wish to make before FCC approval comes and grants them permission to pass that 50% mark and take control of Sirius XM. But due to a change of control provision within Sirius XM's outstanding $1.875 convertible notes, Liberty will want to be prepared for what may be issuance of nearly 300 million shares if note holders choose to redeem for shares, rather than redeem for cash.
Due to the large number of shares that may potentially be issued, Liberty will need to secure in the neighborhood of 150 million shares to cover this potential issuance, so that it remains over 50% if a change of control clause is triggered.
Why is this important to investors? It should be quite simple. Increased buying, yet again, should place demand on shares of Sirius XM and has the potential over the coming weeks to propel the stock higher.
Even if assumptions are incorrect about UBS, it's important to note that I remain bullish on Sirius XM based on the long term trajectory of the company. Auto sales continue to show improved rates, and increases in subscriber numbers multiplied by a rising average revenue per user is driving the bottom line. On top of this, expenses, while rising, are rising than earnings as is evident from the company's latest quarterly report.
My target is $3.30, and barring a fiscal cliff catastrophe, I would expect to see this share price hit within the next couple of months.