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XM misses forecast for subscribers

January 06, 2007|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. reported a year-end subscriber tally Friday that fell short of its earlier forecast, which had been lowered twice.

XM, the larger of the nation's two satellite radio broadcasters, said it ended 2006 with 7.63 million subscribers. That was up almost 1.7 million from a year earlier but short of its most recent prediction of 7.7 million to 7.9 million. A year ago, XM was forecasting 9 million subscribers at the end of 2006. It cut its forecast in May and again in July.

"Operationally, there's no way to put a positive spin on XMSR's subscriber results," Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Craig Moffett said.

XM also said it turned a profit on an operating basis in the fourth quarter.

This week, rival Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. said it finished the year with more than 6 million subscribers, meeting a lowered estimate.

Sirius continued to narrow the gap with XM, adding 905,000 net subscribers in the quarter, compared with 442,000 net additions for XM.

XM shares rose 34 cents to $15.32. Sirius shares rose 3 cents to $3.80.

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