February 22, 2024

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SiriusXM Shares Rise 11% After Liberty Media Offers to Combine Stocks

3 min read
The company's stock ended the week at $4.52 while the overall Billboard Global Music Index gained 1.1% for a year-to-date improvement of 15.2%.
SiriusXM Shares Rise 11% After Liberty Media Offers to Combine Stocks

SiriusXM shares rose 11.1% to $4.52 this week following an offer from Liberty Media on Tuesday (Sept. 26) to combine its tracking stock, The Liberty SiriusXM Group, with SiriusXM’s stock to form a new public company.

Liberty Media, which owns 83% of SiriusXM’s outstanding shares, proposed a complicated transaction that would “provide value to all shareholders with a more flexible and attractive currency” in the newly formed SiriusXM stock, Liberty Media president/CEO Greg Maffei said in a statement. SiriusXM said in a statement that a special committee of its board of directors is evaluating the proposal and provided no assurance a deal would eventually happen.

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The effect appeared to be a short squeeze — albeit one smaller than the instance that inflated SiriusXM’s share price by 49% in one week in July. Because SiriusXM shares are heavily shorted and have a small float, sudden demand for the stock can create large price fluctuations. SiriusXM shares rose 15% on Thursday (Sept. 28) alone, while shares of The Liberty SiriusXM Group tracking stock finished the week up 13.4%. 

While overall stocks were mixed this week, music stocks performed well. The 21-stock Billboard Global Music Index improved 1.1% to 1,344.99, better than the 0.1% gain eked out by the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite and easily besting the S&P 500’s 1.3% loss. In the United Kingdom, the FTSE 100 fell 1%, while South Korea’s KOSPI composite index dropped 1.7%. Eleven of the Billboard Global Music Index’s 21 stocks finished the week in positive territory, eight lost ground and two were unchanged.

Helped by Deezer’s double-digit improvement, streaming stocks had an average gain of 3.1%. Chinese music streamers Cloud Music and Tencent Music Entertainment gained 6.5% and 1.3%, respectively. Spotify shares dropped 2.1% to $154.63 but have gained 95.9% year to date. LiveOne shares fell 8.6% to $0.96, marking its third successive weekly loss since spinning off its PodcastOne division. This week, Billboard reported that LiveOne took out a high-interest loan to lure UFC fighter-turned-podcaster Brendan Schaub after Kast Media failed to pay him advertising money. LiveOne agreed to acquire Kast Media in May and offered Schaub and other podcasters settlements that included a mix of cash, promissory notes and PodcastOne stock.

Music’s greatest gainer this week was French streaming company Deezer.  Despite there being no news — neither a press release nor a regulatory filing — that normally leads to such a substantial change, Deezer shares rose 21.8% to 2.735 euros ($2.90), including a 14.8% gain on Thursday with one of the highest trading volumes since the company went public in September 2022. Nothing indicated the company has substantially improved its earnings outlook in recent days, but Deezer had been in the news prior to this week. Three weeks ago, Deezer announced a partnership with Universal Music Group to create a new system for calculating artist royalties; and last week, the company revealed plans to increase subscription prices for new individual and family plans in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and its largest market, France. 

Live Nation shares rose 4.1% to $83.05 following news the company will help developing artists by providing a financial stipend and eliminating fees charged on merchandise sales at a number of its owned and operated clubs in the United States. Although the move will cost Live Nation money, it also comes with some strategic advantages, according to LightShed Partners analyst Brandon Ross. The decision is “great for Live Nation because it actually throws up another barrier to entry,” Ross said in the Friday (Sept. 29) episode of the LightShed podcast. “Artists are going to want to play your venue where the economics for them are better rather than somebody else’s venue.”

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