Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI) is already up 4% in early trading as of this writing on very high volume of 45 million shares traded. The declines seen over the last four sessions have all been made up in a matter of 45 minutes of trading and look to be testing the 52 week (and for that matter, multi year) high of $2.75.
Many are expecting certain words or phrases to be uttered by Mel when his turn is up, from increasing subscriber guidance for 2012, to perhaps hinting at expectations for 2013. Given that Sirius XM has added over 1 million subscribers in the first half of the year, it should be clear that Sirius XM can easily beat its 1.6 million guidance before 2012 is up. It only makes sense, then, that investors are expecting Mel to raise guidance as high as 1.8 million or 2 million subs. Beyond this, some investors will be looking for hints towards 2013 guidance but I'd expect these numbers will be kept until Sirius XM's third quarter conference call due on October 30th.
Or perhaps the run is due to Maxim Group's increase in price target from $3.35 to $3.80? Certainly one of the more bullish price targets out there now, I see no reason to doubt that John Tinker has done his research here, and no reason to doubt that he has done it well. I believe Tinker has a reasonable price target for 2013.
We were previously assuming a strong buyback with SIRI CEO Mel Karmazin - ~1.65B shares by the end of 2014 or ~25% of the shares outstanding (especially given his history of taking the original Infinity Radio private)," analyst John Tinker notes. "Liberty Media expected to take control of the company subject to receiving FCC permission, appears to be more aggressive. Accordingly, we are now assuming that SIRI may be leveraged 4.0x net debt to EBITDA and buy back 2.22B shares by the end of 2014- about 34% of the shares outstanding. We are maintaining our EBITDA growth assumptions of 27%/26%/24% in 2012/2013/2014 to $928M/$1,170M/$1,453M. We are raising our free cash flow per share growth rates to 76.9% / 70.2% / 48.9% to $0.113 / $0.193 / $0.287.
Or perhaps the rise is due to ISI Group's expectations that Sirius XM will release subscribers in an early October surprise?
ISI Group analyst Vijay Jayant thinks Sirius XM could surprised the Street with better-than-expected subscriber growth for the third quarter, thanks largely to surprising strength in September auto sales. He now sees Sirius posting 456,000 net adds for the quarter, up from previously expected 336,000. He notes that September U.S. auto sales came in at an adjusted annualized rate of 14.9 million, above his forecast of 14.1 million.
That's roughly a 25% beat on subscriber additions over and above their previous expectations.
Whatever the rise is due to today, one thing is certain. Investors are expecting Mel to say something big today, and reaction to his words will be paramount to the performance of the stock in the latter half of the day and the following sessions. If you feel the same way I do, and expect Mel to release Q3's numbers and up guidance for the rest of 2012, you just may want to hold onto your shares until after he speaks. If you feel that I am wrong (and Vijay Jayant, and John Tinker are wrong) then current pricing provides an attractive sell point as the stock is very near to its multi year highs.
I'm holding. Mel, don't let me down.
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.