Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sirius XM takes $4.8 billion charge due to share plunge

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Sirius XM Radio Inc posted a $4.8 billion write-down of goodwill related to its acquisition of satellite radio rival XM, and said the auto industry's "dramatic" woes have hurt subscriber growth.

The company blamed the write-down, which added to its operational losses in the third quarter, on the significant decline in its share price from February 2007, when the merger was first announced. At that time, Sirius traded at about $3.79, compared with 27 cents at the close on Monday.

Chief Executive Mel Karmazin defended the company, saying that while it provides a radio service that subscribers enjoy, it is powerless to fix the economic troubles that have beset the auto industry -- its biggest source of new subscribers.

"We think the environment sucks," he said on a conference call with analysts. "It is not like we're doing something wrong. It is that, unfortunately, we do not have a whole lot of control over what cars are getting sold. We do our best."

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