XM Satellite quarterly loss narrows

Growth in automotive subscribers to the pay radio service helps soften losses; revenue up 22 percent.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor
XM Satellite Radio Holdings on Thursday said its quarterly net loss narrowed on solid growth in automotive subscribers to the pay radio service.

XM, which earlier this year agreed to be acquired by rival Sirius Satellite Radio, said its second-quarter net loss was $175.7 million, or 57 cents a share, from $229.1 million, or 87 cents, a year earlier.

The second-quarter loss included a charge of 12 cents per share related to its investment in Canadian Satellite Radio. At 45 cents, the quarterly loss excluding items was wider than the average expected loss of 44 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue for XM, which offers music, sports, news and talk programs on more than 100 channels for a monthly subscription fee, rose 22 percent to $277 million, beating the analysts' average forecast of $274.7 million.

Washington-based XM, whose program lineup includes Major League Baseball and Oprah Winfrey, ended the quarter with more than 8.25 million subscribers compared with 6.9 million subscribers in the prior-year period.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department are reviewing the deal that would combine the only two providers of satellite radio service in the United States.

The results come two days after XM Chief Executive Hugh Panero said he would resign in August and three days after Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin told a National Press Club luncheon that the two companies would offer customers subscription plans costing up to 46 percent less than the current offerings.

The move was seen as a bid to allay regulators' concerns that a merger would raise prices and limit choices.

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