And the winner is ...
Oh come on, did you think I would list my winner for the Sirius (SIRI) "buyout contest" in the first line of my article? I am actually more curious to hear about what you think of my handicapping and more importantly your ideas, just make sure you also list your reasoning in your comments.
In all seriousness though, I am going to list a few potential companies who could benefit from buying out the satellite radio giant. They are in no particular order. Remember, these are only a list of only a few suitors whom I think have the potential to make a transaction happen sometime in 2012.
Some of these are long shots at best, I have given them all my odds on the chances of it actually happening below. Please remember the odds are listed for entertainment purposes only:
Liberty Media (LMCA); 3-1 odds: If there is someone going to step up to the plate, why not a company that already owns 40% of it? We already know from my last article, Mr Malone loves tax breaks and Sirius (come March) will allow him to take full advantage of the losses on their books. From there many things can happen (not all great for shareholders including myself) but hopefully if you own Sirius and follow my covered call strategy (See Parts 1 and 2), you will be in the black no matter what happens at the end of the day. Don't forget that Mr. Warren Buffett bought almost 2% of Liberty quite recently (odd timing with March around the corner) which brings us to ...
Berkshire (BRK.A) 50-1 odds: Probably the biggest long-shot of the bunch, but one thing that Warren does like are unique companies that stand on their own. Sirius does do this. I have posted on other contributor's articles regarding that Sirius has a monopoly of sorts. Though the fundamentals are not "Warren-like" (which is why Berk is 50-1) they are improving. They also are the only radio service to have a large amount of paid subscribers (sorry Pandora (P)) and no one can match the content. They also have 21 million-plus of those subs and agreements with most major car manufacturers for both used and new cars. Penetration into vehicles alone is something that..
Apple (AAPL) 15-1 odds: Many of you read my article addressing why Apple should and could buy out Sirius. I see good things and bad things here. The bad is that Apple is fairly large already and doesn't need to get any bigger. They have products that sell for what THEY want them to (when was the last time you saw a 40% off special on iPads?). However, the only major area in most of our lives that Apple does not have a foothold in (assuming they get our TVs) is in our vehicles, which was the main point of the article I wrote. If they can acquire Sirius or (more likely) form a partnership with them, they can be everywhere we are and continue to head upwards. The also can pick up some nice tax write-offs, great for companies that are growing profits and increasing their bottom line unlike ...
Research in Motion (RIMM) 45-1 odds: The only reason RIMM is not 100-1 here is they are getting desperate, and need something to give their company a jolt. One CEO is out the door, and the stock is down about 80% from its days in the $70 range last year. They are holding onto about $1.5 billion in cash (not enough to buy Sirius on its own) and looking at decreasing profits quarter over quarter. They need something to level the playing field and have not found it yet. Although this could be a decent match, I have no clue how they would pull it off. The odds are probably better of them getting bought out before them doing any buying.
No one buys them out 5/2 odds: I still think the best chance is that nothing will happen. Although Sirius has many attractive features, they still have quite a bit of debt, and can only mesh with certain companies. Plus Liberty Media doesn't have to do anything, they own 40% already with little risk. If Liberty DOES do it, I imagine it will be sometime in early March, with them just getting enough shares to control the company. Otherwise I think the odds on Sirius standing alone get better and better (and hopefully the price increases as well).
Would love to hear arguments for other companies. There has been mention in other articles of Google (GOOG) and others. Here is your chance to add something to the debate.
Disclosure: I am long SIRI.
Additional disclosure: I may initiate positions in LMCA via options or stock purchase in the next 72 hours.