Updated from 11:26 a.m. EDTSirius XM ( SIRI) is floating the idea of a potential reverse stock split as solution to prop up the company's slumping share price. In a regulatory notice filed late last week, Sirius XM said it is proposing a split ratio of between 1-for-10 to 1-for-50, which will be put to a vote at the company's annual shareholder meeting, scheduled for Dec. 18. A potential reverse split would reduce the number of shares outstanding from roughly 3.2 billion to a range of 64 million to 320 million. Shares of the satellite radio company, formed after the July merger between Sirius and XM, have slid as low as 36 cents recently amid concerns over slowing subscriber growth and the company's ability to refinance several debt obligations set to mature in 2009. Sirius XM shares traded recently at 38 cents. Sirius XM said that the reverse split proposal comes as the company is in danger of receiving a delisting notice from the Nasdaq. Normally, a stock must trade at $1 or higher. If the price closes below $1 for 30 consecutive trading sessions, the Nasdaq sends a delisting notice that requires a company to regain compliance within the next 180 calendar days. However, one day prior to Sirius XM's regulatory filing, the Nasdaq temporarily suspended the application of continued listing requirements related to bid price and market value of publicly held shares through Jan. 16, 2009. "Given current market conditions, the Securities and Exchange Commission agreed with Nasdaq that companies are in need of temporary relief," said Nasdaq spokesperson Wayne Lee in an email. "We believe the temporary suspensions will permit companies to focus on the successful operation of their businesses than on responding to market conditions that are unpredictable and often out of control of the company's management."
Shares of Sirius XM last traded above the $1 threshold on Sept. 19, which meant that a delisting warning would've come from the Nasdaq within the next two weeks. Sirius XM now has a three-month reprieve from the Nasdaq's listing criteria. "Although our common stock's trading price has not been below the $1.00 per share level for thirty consecutive trading days...we believe that approval of this proposal would significantly reduce our risk of not meeting this continued listing standard in the future," the company said in the filing. Sirius XM said that its board intends to effect the proposed reverse stock split only if it believes it will improve the trading price, and only if it's "in the best interests of the company and its stockholders."