If you don’t think that the iPhone is the wonder product of the century, then maybe this will convince you. Citigroup analyst Tony Wible thinks that the iPhone will not only drive Apple’s stock into the stratosphere but revive the fortunes of struggling Sirius (SIRI).
Sirius’ value, reasons Wible, is tied to the value of its content, which he thinks is superb. Given this advantage, Wible thinks that iPhones and products like it could enhance the value of Sirius:
Reports of a new internet streaming application that would allow SIRI users to get content on their iPhones and other portable devices are now emerging and highlight that SIRI’s value lies in its content and not its hardware or infrastructure. We maintain that SIRI will continue to gain share in the audio entertainment industry as it offers long tail content that is proprietary, unique, fresh, and simple. The fact that about 50% of new OEM customers still elect to pay for satellite radio despite the challenging macro environment supports this view.
Wible thinks that a partnership with Apple would help Sirius in several key areas. It would allow SIRI to save on radio costs, generate tons of new subs at low cost, and allow Sirius greater access to Apple’s library of music:
While AAPL is generally perceived as a competitor to satellite radio, the streaming application underscores that it may complement and help satellite radio as the new application would: 1) eliminate SIRI radio costs; 2) help generate new subs at a lower cost (albeit with a higher royalty rate given the internet streaming); and 3) likely improve the ability to purchase tracks from AAPL.
Finally, Wible thinks that SIRI bears fail to appreciate that satellite radio and Apple products could have considerable synergies:
SIRI bears argue that AAPL’s products will take share from SIRI, but we disagree as both MP3 players and satellite radio have unique advantages that leads us to believe both will co-exist. New satellite radio plans create a greater opportunity for synergies between the two.
Wible still has a Buy on Sirius, as he thinks the market continues to undervalue merger synergies. Wible reiterates his $6.50 price target.
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