Sirius XM Holdings Inc. is an American broadcasting company headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York City that provides satellite radio and online radio services operating in the United States. It was formed by the 2008 merger of Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio, merging them into SiriusXM Radio. The company also has a 70% equity interest in Sirius XM Canada, an affiliate company that provides Sirius and XM service in Canada. On 21 May 2013, Sirius XM Holdings, Inc. was incorporated, and in January 2020, Sirius XM reorganized their corporate structure, which made Sirius XM Radio Inc. a direct, wholly owned subsidiary of Sirius XM Holdings, Inc.
|Predecessors||Sirius Satellite Radio, XM Satellite Radio|
|Founded||July 29, 2008|
|Headquarters||1221 Avenue of the Americas,|
|United States and Canada|
|Revenue||US$7.794 billion (2019)|
|US$1.647 billion (2019)|
|US$914 million (2019)|
|Total assets||US$11.149 billion (2019)|
|Total equity||US$−754.0 million (2019)|
|Owner||Liberty Media (72%)|
Number of employees
|Footnotes / references|
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the merger of XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc. on 29 July 2008, 17 months after the companies first proposed it. The merger created a company with 18.5 million subscribers, and the deal was valued at US$3.3 billion, not including debt. The proposed merger was opposed by those who felt it would create a monopoly. Sirius and XM argued that a merger was the only way that satellite radio could survive.
In September 2018, the company agreed to purchase the streaming music service Pandora, and this transaction was completed on 1 February 2019. Since then, SiriusXM has grown to be the largest audio entertainment company in North America.
Early days of SiriusEdit
Sirius Satellite Radio was founded by Martine Rothblatt, David Margolese, and Robert Briskman. In 1990, Rothblatt founded Satellite CD Radio in Washington, D.C. The company was the first to petition the FCC to assign unused frequencies for satellite radio broadcast, which "provoked a furor among owners of both large and small [terrestrial] radio stations". In April 1992, Rothblatt resigned as chairman and CEO to start a medical research foundation. Former NASA engineer Briskman, who designed the company's satellite technology, was then appointed chairman and CEO. Six months later, in November 1992, Rogers Wireless co-founder Margolese, who had provided financial backing for the venture, acquired control of the company and succeeded Briskman. Margolese renamed the company CD Radio, and spent the next five years lobbying the FCC to allow satellite radio to be deployed, and the following five years raising US$1.6 billion, which was used to build and launch three satellites into elliptical orbit from Kazakhstan in July 2000. In 1997, after Margolese had obtained regulatory clearance and "effectively created the industry", the FCC also awarded a license to XM Satellite Radio, which followed Sirius' example. In November 1999, marketing chief Ira Bahr convinced Margolese to again change the name of the company, this time to Sirius Satellite Radio, in order to avoid association with the soon-to-be-outdated CD technology. Having secured installation deals with automakers, including BMW, Chrysler and Ford, Sirius launched the initial phase of its service in four cities on 14 February 2002, expanding to the rest of the contiguous United States on 1 July 2002.
In November 2001, Margolese stepped down as CEO, remaining as chairman until November 2003, with Sirius issuing a statement thanking him "for his great vision, leadership and dedication in creating both Sirius and the satellite radio industry". Joe Clayton, former CEO of Global Crossing, followed as CEO from November 2001 until November 2004; stayed on as chairman until July 2008. Mel Karmazin, former president of Viacom, became CEO in November 2004 and remained in that position through the merger, until December 2012.
Early days of XMEdit
The origin of XM Satellite Radio was a Petition for Rulemaking filed at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by regulatory attorney and Founder of Satellite CD Radio Martine Rothblatt, to establish frequencies and licensing rules for the world's first-ever Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS). On 18 May 1990, Satellite CD Radio, Inc. (SCDR) filed a Petition for Rule Making in which it requested spectrum to offer Compact Disc quality digital audio radio service to be delivered by satellites and complementary radio transmitters. Following the Allocation NPRM, the FCC established a 15 December 1992 cut-off date for applications proposing satellite DARS to be considered in conjunction with CD Radio's application. One such application came from American Mobile Radio Corporation (AMRC), the predecessor company to XM Satellite Radio. XM Satellite Radio was founded by Lon Levin and Gary Parsons. It has its origins in the 1988 formation of the American Mobile Satellite Corporation (AMSC), a consortium of several organizations originally dedicated to satellite broadcasting of telephone, fax, and data signals. In 1992, AMSC established a unit called the American Mobile Radio Corporation, dedicated to developing a satellite-based digital radio service; this was spun off as XM Satellite Radio Holdings, Inc. in 1998. Its planned financing was complete by July 2000, at which point XM had raised US$1.26 billion and secured installation agreements with General Motors, Honda, and Toyota. Initially scheduled for September 12, 2001, XM's service start date was postponed due to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. XM Satellite Radio's first broadcast was on 25 September 2001, nearly four months before Sirius.
Gary Parsons served as chairman of XM Satellite Radio from its inception through the merger, and resigned from the position in November 2009. Hugh Panero served as XM's CEO from 1998 until July 2007, shortly after the merger with Sirius was proposed. Nate Davis was appointed interim CEO until the merger was completed, at which point Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin took over as CEO of the newly merged company, Sirius XM.
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After years of speculation (the New York Post first reported on a potential merger in January 2005)  and three months of serious negotiations, the US$13 billion merger between Sirius and XM was officially announced on 19 February 2007. At the time, the nation's only two satellite radio providers reported nearly 14 million combined subscribers (with nearly 8 million belonging to XM), with neither having turned an annual profit. Sirius was valued at US$5.2 billion, and XM at US$3.75 billion. Each subscription was sold for US$12.95 monthly.
XM and Sirius executives felt the merger would lower programming costs by eliminating overlapping stations and duplicated marketing costs. According to their original operating licenses, the two companies were not allowed to ever own each other's license. In proceeding with the merger, Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin ignored this rule, gambling that the FCC would consider other audio entertainment to be competitors and allow the merger to proceed by waiving the rule.
After a 57-week review process, the U.S. Justice Department approved the Sirius and XM merger on 24 March 2008, concluding that satellite radio competes with terrestrial radio, online streaming, and mp3 players and tablets. On 25 July 2008, the FCC approved the merger with a 3–2 vote, determining that it was not a monopoly because of competition on the Internet. FCC chairman Kevin Martin stated, "The merger is in the public interest and will provide consumers with greater flexibility and choices".
The biggest challenge for the newly unified company was selling more subscriptions with the drop in the number of cars sold annually in the U.S., the subsequent reduced demand for cars equipped with satellite radio, as well as online radio-streaming competition. Conditions of the merger included allowing any third-party company to make satellite radio devices; producing new radios that can receive both XM and Sirius channels within one year; allowing consumers to choose which channels they would like to have; freezing subscription rates for three years; setting aside 8% of its channels for noncommercial programmers; and paying US$19.7 million in fines for past rule violations. Sirius and XM began merging their channels on 12 November 2008.
Each share of XM stock was replaced with 4.6 shares of Sirius stock. Each company's stockholders initially retained approximately 50% of the joined company. At the time of the merger, Sirius' top programming included channels for Howard Stern, and Martha Stewart; live NBA and NFL games; and live NASCAR races. XM's programming included channels for Willie Nelson, Opie and Anthony, Snoop Dogg, and Oprah Winfrey; and live Major League Baseball games.
The National Association of Broadcasters was adamantly opposed to the merger, calling it a monopoly. Shortly after the Justice Department gave its support to the merger without restrictions, attorneys general from 11 states (Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington) urged the FCC to impose restrictions on the merger. Several Congressional Democrats also opposed the merger, calling it anticompetitive and criticizing the Bush administration for allowing it to go through.
Resurgence and growthEdit
After coming close to filing for Chapter 11 only months after the 2008 merger, having gone so far as to hire lawyers to prepare a possible bankruptcy filing, Sirius XM was able to avoid declaring bankruptcy with the assistance of a US$530 million loan from Liberty Media in February 2009, which Mel Karmazin negotiated in exchange for a 40% equity stake in Sirius XM.
In the fourth quarter of 2009, Sirius XM posted a profit for the first time, with a net income of US$14.2 million. This came after net losses of US$245.8 million in the year following the merger. The company's resurgence was owed in part to the loan from Liberty Media. Increased automobile sales in the U.S. were also a factor. Sirius XM ended 2009 with 18.8 million subscribers. By the end of 2012, Sirius XM's subscriber base had grown to 23.9 million, mostly due to an increase in partnerships with automakers and car dealers; a strong push in the used-car market; and continued improved car sales in the U.S. in general. The renewal of radio show host Howard Stern's contract through 2015 (US$400 million for five years, US$100 million less than Stern's previous five-year deal) was also a factor in the company's steady growth; Stern's show attracted over 12 million listeners per week.
As of 2017, Sirius XM had approximately a 75% penetration rate in the new car market. Out of that 75%, approximately 40% become subscribers. SiriusXM is available in cars from every major car company as well as in assorted trucks, boats and aircraft. The company offers trial subscriptions to new car owners, and then offers customers a variety of subscription options. There are more than 100 million cars on the road with SiriusXM radios installed.
After trying for four years, on 21 December 2010, Sirius XM received approval from the FCC to add service in Alaska and Hawaii. Sirius XM announced on 17 January 2011 that it would place repeaters in those states and adjust three of its satellites to cover those areas. The move gave Sirius XM coverage in all 50 states.
On 12 January 2011, XM Satellite Radio, Inc. was dissolved as a separate entity and merged into Sirius XM Radio, Inc. On 11 April 2011, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved the merger of Sirius and XM's Canadian affiliates in Sirius XM Canada.
On 11 April 2013, a New York appeals court upheld a New York judge's ruling, from April 2012, that Howard Stern was not entitled to stock bonuses based on Sirius XM's exceeding subscriber target projections. The court ruled that subscribers to XM Satellite Radio from before the Sirius XM merger should not be counted as "Sirius subscribers" for the purposes of Stern's lawsuit. Stern argued the opposite, because his popularity had played an integral role in helping Sirius acquire XM. He had been seeking US$330 million in stock bonuses.
In 2017, SiriusXM surpassed 32 million subscribers.
On 24 September 2018, Sirius XM announced its intent to acquire Pandora for US$3.5 billion. The acquisition was completed on 1 February 2019. On 19 October 2020, SiriusXM announced that it completed the acquisition of Stitcher.
Following the merger, Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin became CEO of the combined company, and XM chairman Gary Parsons retained his role. XM CEO and co-founder Hugh Panero stepped down in August 2007, shortly after the merger was first announced.
XM Satellite Radio executives who were not offered jobs in the new combined company were assured golden parachute severance packages that had been approved in 2007. Former CEO Nate Davis received a severance package worth US$10 million. Erik Toppenberg, executive vice president of programming, received a severance package worth US$5.34 million. CFO Joseph Euteneuer received a severance package worth US$4.9 million. Vernon Irvin, chief marketing officer, received a severance package worth US$4.5 million.
In November 2009, Parsons resigned as chairman of Sirius XM, receiving a payout of more than US$9 million. He was succeeded by Eddy Hartenstein, former publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times. In December 2012, Mel Karmazin stepped down as Sirius XM CEO after Liberty Media gained control of 49.5% of the company. James E. Meyer was named interim CEO. On April 30, 2013, he was named permanent CEO. Also in April 2013, Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei was named Sirius XM's chairman, succeeding Hartenstein.
In September 2020, SiriusXM announced that Jennifer Witz will succeed James Meyer as the company's Chief Executive Officer once he retires by 31 December 2020. The company also hired AMC Networks Inc's Sean Sullivan as Chief Financial Officer.
Internet and mobileEdit
Sirius XM radio content is available to stream online either as an add-on to existing subscriptions or as an Internet-only option. Internet and mobile services directly challenging Sirius XM include iHeartRadio, Pandora (later acquired by SiriusXM in 2019), and Spotify.
In August 2011, SiriusXM announced that the company would start offering a personalized interactive online radio experience. MySXM debuted on April 15, 2013, allowing users to fine-tune over 50 existing Sirius XM channels. MySXM is available to all Sirius XM subscribers.
The internet player allows subscribers to customize most stations to their liking by adjusting settings like: familiar/hits or unfamiliar/depth, studio recordings or live performances, and new/recent or old/classic material. These customized stations also allow listeners to play music without DJ interruptions. SiriusXM apps also include an extensive lineup of archived programming on SiriusXM On Demand.
On 17 June 2009, Sirius XM released an application for use on Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch, allowing its subscribers to listen to its programming on those devices. The application did not feature all of the programming available to satellite listeners. On 17 March 2011, the application was also made available for the iPad. In 2012, the application was updated for iOS and Android, featuring additional content, and the ability to pause, rewind, and fast-forward through audio streams.
On 4 February 2010, the Sirius XM BlackBerry application was announced, for use on BlackBerry smartphones (the Bold, Curve, Storm, and Tour). As of April 2013, the app featured over 150 channels.
As part of Howard Stern's new five-year contract with SiriusXM, which he signed on December 9, 2010, The Howard Stern Show, which hadn't previously been made available on mobile devices, would now be a part of Sirius XM's mobile app package.
On 18 March 2015, SiriusXM released a refreshed user interface of the application on Android and iOS.
As of October 2017, SiriusXM is available for streaming via custom apps on a variety of connected devices including Amazon Alexa  and Fire TV, Sonos, PlayStation, Roku, and smart TVs.
In May 2018, SiriusXM unveiled a new look for both the desktop web player and the mobile apps. The MySXM feature, including all the custom mixes that listeners saved over time, was removed. SiriusXM claims that they're working on a more personalized feature that will release in the upcoming months. SiriusXM later expanded their internet and mobile platforms by acquiring Pandora in February 2019.
Following the merger, Sirius XM began offering numerous new options, including à la carte offerings, a family-friendly version, and "mostly music" or "news, sports, and talk" packages, ranging in price from US$6.99 to US$16.99 per month.
Prior to the merger, Sirius offered, for a one-time fee, a lifetime subscription for the radio unit (not the customer's lifetime). After the merger, due to changes in bundling policies and contracts, some customers who had purchased lifetime subscriptions had their service reduced or canceled, and were unable to obtain a refund.
On 4 December 2014, Sirius XM Holdings agreed to a US$3.8 million settlement with 45 states and the District of Columbia, over a suit initiated by then-Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, stemming from the company's billing and service renewal practices. The suit alleged Sirius XM Holdings was engaged in "misleading, unfair and deceptive acts or practices in violation of state consumer protection laws", Attorney General DeWine said.
SiriusXM is the exclusive home to Howard Stern, with two dedicated Howard Stern channels. SiriusXM's talk, news, and comedy programming features channels from many news outlets, including: BBC, CNBC, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, Bloomberg, NPR, C-SPAN. The programming also includes exclusive talk and entertainment channels such as TODAY Show Radio, Business Radio Powered By The Wharton School, Entertainment Weekly Radio, Faction Talk, Radio Andy, Joel Osteen Radio, and comedy from channels including Comedy Central Radio, Comedy Greats, The Foxxhole, Laugh USA, Raw Dog Comedy and George Carlin's Carlin's Corner.
SiriusXM music programming includes channels dedicated to multiple decades and genres that span rock, pop, country, R&B, hip-hop, electronic dance, jazz and more, and concept-based channels, such as The Coffee House, SiriusXM Chill, Road Trip Radio, Yacht Rock Radio, and The Covers Channel.
The service also features several artist-branded channels, including those for Pitbull, The Beatles, Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, Pearl Jam, Grateful Dead, Jimmy Buffett, Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Tom Petty, U2, Ozzy Osbourne, LL Cool J, Eminem, Diplo, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Willie Nelson, Kirk Franklin, Frank Sinatra, B.B. King, Dwight Yoakam, Marky Ramone, Steve Aoki, The Tragically Hip, Chucho Valdés, and Tom Morello. On occasion, SiriusXM has offered limited edition artists channels for a specific period of time, including those for Drake, Metallica, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, Prince, Guns N' Roses, Led Zeppelin, George Strait, The Rolling Stones, Eagles, Queen, Beastie Boys, Coldplay, Michael Jackson, Foo Fighters, Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, and Billy Joel.
SiriusXM offers live play-by-play coverage of every NFL, Major League Baseball, and NBA game; every NASCAR race; PGA Tour events; and live college sports, as well as news, analysis and opinions from more than a dozen dedicated sports talk channels.
In Canada, Sirius Canada and XM Canada were partially owned by Sirius XM (20% and 23.3% respectively) in joint ventures with Canadian companies. After the U.S. merger, the two Canadian ventures did not immediately agree to a similar merger, but instead remained in competition as distinct services. Complicating matters was that Sirius Canada has nearly 80% of the total satellite radio subscriber base in that country, and felt they deserved greater than a 50/50 split of the new company, whereas XM Canada felt their deal with the NHL - a particularly lucrative prize in Canadian sports broadcasting - also warranted a significant amount of value in the new company.
On 24 November 2010, XM Radio Canada and Sirius Canada announced that they would merge their services. On 12 April 2011, the CRTC approved the companies' merger into Sirius XM Canada. John Bitove's Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., the licensee of XM Canada, gained a 30% share in the new company as its primary and controlling shareholder, while Slaight Communications and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the current owners of Sirius Canada, each retained 20% ownership. Sirius XM's American parent company would hold 25%. The merger was completed on 21 June 2011. Sirius XM Holdings now owns a 70% equity interest and a 33% voting interest in Sirius XM Canada, as of 2020.
XM and Sirius use different compression and conditional access systems, making their receivers incompatible with each other's service. A condition of the merger was that Sirius XM would bring to the market satellite radios that can receive both XM and Sirius channels within one year. The interoperable radio, called the MiRGE, was made available beginning in March 2009 but was soon discontinued after both services eliminated duplicate channels, thus removing the need for it. As of February 2016[update], Sirius XM offers radios for home, office, automotive, marine, and aviation use.
SiriusXM Marine is graphical weather and fishing info for boaters. The service works with most major marine-electronics hardware companies, such as Raymarine, Furuno, Simrad and Garmin. The Marine Offshore package includes graphical weather radar; cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning; high-resolution coastal and offshore wave heights, direction and intervals; high-resolution sea-surface temperatures; pressure isobars; buoy data, etc.
SiriusXM Aviation provides satellite-based graphical weather info for pilots, which provides better signal coverage and faster data refresh rate than land-based ADS-B service.[non-primary source needed] The 2020 FAA Mandate does not require pilots to equip with ADS‑B/FIS‑B weather.
SiriusXM Aviation receiver Model # SXAR1 and Garmin GDL51/GDL52 enables pilots to use an iPad or iPhone with the Foreflight Mobile App, via Bluetooth, to view the SiriusXM Aviation in-flight weather and data delivered via satellite to monitor storm fronts, track lightning strikes, TAFs, METARs, winds and more.
As of May 2017[update], there are five satellites in orbit: two XM and two Sirius satellites, plus one spare. XM-3 and XM-4 are the active satellites for the XM service and replaced the original XM-1 and XM-2 satellites (which were placed into disposal orbits). Sirius FM-5 and FM-6 function as the primaries for the Sirius side. FM-6 was launched on 25 October 2013 and was declared ready for service on 2 December 2013. The satellite initially served as an in-orbit spare while the company worked to deploy repeaters for the Sirius side, which were needed to transition to full geostationary orbit operation. In 2016, FM-6 was put into active service and officially replaced Sirius originals FM-1 through FM-3 which operated in elliptical orbit. FM-1 through FM-3 were later placed into disposal orbits. With this change, FM-5 and FM-6 exclusively serve the Sirius service, mirroring XM-3 and XM-4. Before FM-6 was launched, XM-5 was sent into orbit by Proton from Kazakhstan, on 14 October 2010. It is capable of broadcasting to either service. XM-5 serves as the in-orbit spare for the entire system and can function in place of either a Sirius or XM satellite. In late 2016, SiriusXM placed an order for two new satellites SXM-7 and SXM-8 which will replace XM-3 and XM-4 and have the capability to deliver either Sirius or XM content to radio receivers. SXM-7 was launched 13 December 2020 via a SpaceX Falcon 9 (failed after being successfully placed into orbit), while SXM-8 was launched on 6 June 2021 (delayed due to failure of SXM-7).
- Sirius FM-1 (Radiosat 1). Launch occurred on 30 June 2000.
- Sirius FM-2 (Radiosat 2). Launch occurred on 5 September 2000.
- Sirius FM-3 (Radiosat 3). Launch occurred on 30 November 2000.
- Sirius FM-4 (Radiosat 4). Ground spare, was not launched into orbit. In October 2012, it was donated for display to the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
- Sirius FM-5 (Radiosat 5). Launch occurred on 30 June 2009.
- Sirius FM-6 (Radiosat 6, COSPAR 2013-058A). Launch occurred on 25 October 2013.
- XM-1 (Roll, COSPAR 2001-018A). Launch occurred on 8 May 2001. Retired in 2016 (graveyard orbit).
- XM-2 (Rock, COSPAR 2001-012A). Launch occurred on 18 March 2001. FCC license expired in 2014.
- XM-3 (Rhythm, COSPAR 2005-008A). Launch occurred on 28 February 2005.
- XM-4 (Blues, COSPAR 2006-049A). Launch occurred on 30 October 2006.
- XM-5 (COSPAR 2010-053A) Launch occurred on 14 October 2010.
- SXM-7 - Launch occurred  on December 13, 2020 by a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle, and replaced satellite XM-3. The booster used for the mission is B1051 on its 7th flight. On 27 January 2021, Sirius XM announced that the satellite suffered failures during in-orbit testing, but did not provide detail on the nature of those failures.
- SXM-8 - Launch occurred on June 6, 2021 by a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle, and replaced satellite XM-4. The booster used for this mission is B1061 on its 3rd flight.
The following milestones have been set during and after the merger:
|February 2007||Execute definitive agreement|
|March 2007||File FCC application|
|June 2007||FCC places application on "Public Notice" (DA 07-2417)||Comments and petitions were due 11 July 2007; responses and oppositions were due 24 July 2007.|
|November 2007||Sirius/XM shareholder votes||Announced 4 October 2007, and voted upon on 13 November 2007. 96% of Sirus shareholders approved the merger, and 99.8% of XMSR shareholders also approved.|
|March 2008||Receive regulatory approvals||On 24 March 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice ended its investigation of the merger (i.e. decided against blocking the deal).|
|July 2008||Receive FCC approval||On 25 July 2008, the FCC approved the merger voting 3–2.|
|July 2008||Merger completed||XM stock trading ends 28 July 2008. Sirius XM Radio, Inc. becomes the name of the merged corporation.|
|November 2008||Programming merged|
|March 2009||MiRGE released||First receiver being compatible with both Sirius and XM signals is released|
|December 2010||Alaska and Hawaii expansion||Receives FCC approval to add service to the two states, thus giving Sirius XM coverage in all 50 states|
|April 2013||MySXM debuts||A personalized interactive online radio experience|
|October 2013||Clear Channel-programmed stations removed||Channels programmed by Clear Channel, including America's Talk, Sixx Sense, Fox Sports Radio and WSIX-FM, are removed months after Clear Channel sells its stake in Sirius XM; WHTZ/New York and KIIS-FM/Los Angeles are retained under a separate agreement.|
|April 2016||Surpasses 30 million subscribers||Sirius XM announces through Q1 of 2016, the company has a total of 30.1 million subscribers.|
|January 2020||Investment in SoundCloud announced||US$75 million investment for ad partnership |
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