Sirius gives Stern $82.9-million bonus

Published January 10, 2007

NEW YORK - Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. paid Howard Stern an $82.9-million stock bonus Tuesday after the company beat a subscriber target set two years ago when it lured the star shock jock away from terrestrial radio.

The bonus came one year after Stern started broadcasting his hugely popular and racy programming on satellite radio. The stock bonus is on top of Stern's five-year, $500-million pay package that he signed in October 2004.

Sirius said in a statement it paid Stern slightly more than 22-million shares of stock after exceeding a year-end subscriber goal for 2006 by more than 2-million.

Sirius ended last year with about 6-million subscribers, compared with projections of about 3.5-million from Wall Street analysts when the company signed Stern's employment agreement.

Sirius and its main competitor, XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., have posted financial losses as they spend heavily on talent like Stern. Both said they turned profitable on an operating basis in the fourth quarter.

Shares of both companies, once favorites of investors, fell more than 45 percent last year on various concerns.

Investors have recently focused on the possibility the two companies could attempt to merge, although analysts caution that such a combination would face serious regulatory hurdles.