Sirius Lifts Forecast for 2012 Subscriber Adds on Auto Sales

Sirius XM Radio Inc., the satellite-radio broadcaster, rose the most in two months after boosting its forecast for 2012 subscriber gains to 1.8 million from 1.6 million, helped by growth in auto sales.

Sirius added 445,921 subscribers in the third quarter, bringing its total customer base to a record 23.4 million, the New York-based company said today in a statement.

The period marked the best third quarter since the merger of Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio in 2008, Chief Executive Officer Mel Karmazin said in the statement. Sirius is also on track for record annual net additions. Most new cars have the satellite service as a built-in feature, giving the company a boost from the resurgent auto industry.

“With almost 1.5 million net subscribers already added in 2012 and continuing growth in auto sales, we will significantly exceed our previous guidance of 1.6 million,” Karmazin said.

Sirius rose or 4.6 percent to $2.75 at the close in New York, its biggest gain since Aug. 8. The stock has risen 51 percent this year.

Sirius added 1.7 million customers last year. The service is preinstalled in about two-thirds of new cars, Karmazin said in September.

Karmazin’s job status with Sirius remains unclear. His contract with the company runs out at the end of the year. Englewood, Colorado-based Liberty Media Corp., which holds just under 50 percent of Sirius’s shares, has informed the Federal Communications Commission that it intends to take control of the company. Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei said last month Karmazin wasn’t “irreplaceable.”

Liberty Chairman John Malone said in July he intends to spin off the stake in New York-based Sirius if Liberty’s takeover plan gets approval. Karmazin has said that such a move might increase his interest in staying.

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