Howard Stern: The $1.8 Billion Man

| About: Sirius XM (SIRI)

They don't call him the King of all Media for nothing. As we noted here last week, shares of Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) have been on a tear lately with a gain of 9.35% so far this year. While some of the gains can be attributed to the strong market, the main driver of the shares has been Howard Stern, who renewed his contract with the company on December 9th and announced that his radio show would finally be available on smartphones. Since then, shares of the company are up over 35%. In terms of market cap, this translates into $1.8 billion dollars. While terms of the contract were undisclosed, so far Howard has been worth every penny of it. Shares of SIRI practically trade as a barometer of his popularity, so the more popular he gets, the higher the stock goes. Just last week, Howard entered the Twitter universe and the stock is up 8% since.

Howard Stern is one of a handful of celebrities who are known on a first name basis. It's not Howard Stern or Stern, but simply Howard. Like Oprah, when you say the name Howard, most people know who you are talking about. But while Sirius shares have been flying higher lately, the owner of Oprah's OWN network hasn't gotten nearly as much traction from her partnership since its launch at the start of the year. So far in 2011, shares of Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) are underperforming the S&P 500 with a gain of only 1.3%.

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(Just in case Howard's reading, we won't mention the performance of SIRI since he first joined the company. But even then, the stock got a huge boost when he first signed before hitting the skids with the one two punch of the regulatory hurdles involved in its merger with XM Radio and the financial crisis.)