Investors' jitters started Monday morning with speculation that the two-player satellite radio market could soon face competition from Rupert Murdoch's TV broadcasting service,
. That talk sent XM and Sirius, a pair of money-losing companies that nonetheless have ranked among Wall Street's favorites in recent years, down sharply in an early selloff.
But at a Smith Barney conference Monday in Phoenix, DirecTV CEO Chase Carey said the company was "happy to leave satellite radio" to Sirius and XM, according to StreetAccount.com, an independent financial news alert service. Representatives of DirecTV, which last year joined the Murdoch fold and has been seen as expansion-minded, were unavailable for comment.
Early Monday, Sirius dropped 12% and XM lost 5%. But following Carey's comments, Sirius shares were down 7% and XM was down just 2%.
XM and Sirius have been tech favorites for the past two years as investors warmed to their strong growth prospects. Even so, some observers have questioned the
blue-sky mentality surrounding these stocks. The threat of a deep-pocketed competitor entering the fray would certainly complicate the math behind either company's investment story.
Some analysts were quick to point out that DirecTV would need radio airwave licenses, consumer electronics devices and small antennas to duplicate the pay radio services of Sirius and XM. On Monday, DirecTV rose 41 cents to $16.63.