Stern Earns Sirius 'Buy' Rating


Howard Stern may or may not be "King of All Media," but his decision to move to satellite radio in 2006 has already improved the fortunes of Sirius Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.

Saying 'the game has changed," Financial analyst IRG Research Thursday upgraded its recommendation on the company from neutral to buy at its current $3.87 per share.

IRG says it predicts Stern will be able to attract almost 2.5 million of his 12 million fan base by 2006 to pay homage--12.95 a month--to "the King."

Sirius has said it needs about a million new subs to cover the $100 million per year it estimates it will cost to keep Stern in staff, listeners, and a new studio.

"We think this deal will likely transform satellite radio into a much more competitive industry [XM is currently the clear market leader--and provide tremendous momentum to Sirius' business. We believe the automakers and consumer retailers will now make a stronger commitment to the Sirius brand. "

Sirius already has exclusive deals with DaimlerChrysler, Ford and BMW
and "select model" deals with a host of other makes.