Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI) gave Howard Stern 22 million shares.

The New York-based satellite radio broadcaster said the stock, worth $83 million at current prices, is Stern's because the company beat subscriber estimates written into his contract. Sirius said that back in October 2004 at the time of Stern's hiring, Wall Street expected the company to end 2006 with 3.5 million subscribers. But as Sirius said last week, the company ended the year with 6 million.

"The decision to bring Howard Stern to Sirius required a very significant commitment and we are very pleased that our investment has dramatically paid off," said CEO Mel Karmazin. "Sirius has significantly outperformed earlier subscriber expectations, now generating over $300 million more revenue than Wall Street expected at the time Howard agreed to join us."

Sirius turned heads in 2004 by luring Stern away from CBS ( CBS) with a deal that was said to be worth $500 million. Stern's hiring helped Sirius steal momentum in the satellite radio business from rival XM ( XMSR), but shares of both companies have been hit hard over the last year as investors grow impatient to see profits after years of steep losses.

Sirius said its agreement with Stern provides for additional stock-based performance bonuses if the company exceeds an escalating set of specified subscriber targets by increasing amounts substantially greater than two million.

The shares of Sirius common stock issued, or any likely to be issued to Stern in the future, will not increase the company's fully diluted share count, as certain other currently outstanding warrants will expire without exercise in the ordinary course. Expense related to this payment has been reflected in operating results throughout 2006.

Sirius intends to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission to register Stern's shares.

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