CBC’s Sirius investment: Not so ‘risky’ after all?



In a scathing article published last week in the Toronto Sun, Jean-Francois Cloutier says the CBC took “significant risks” by investing $12 million in Sirius Satellite Radio in 2004. His article hinges around a large deficit that Sirius faced until it acquired competitor XM Radio in 2011, and though it is acknowledged, the part where CBC had limited liability on its initial investment and that it received $18 million in cash payout at the time of the Sirius-XM merger is downplayed.

In short, Cloutier’s piece is about what happened eight years ago and about the losses faced up until 2011, not about what that investment means today for the public broadcaster, or, as Sun News so lovingly refers to it: the “state broadcaster.”

But a report from Steve Ladurantaye of The Globe and Mail today takes a closer look at the current picture for CBC’s satellite radio investment, and finds that broadcaster has not only essentially made back its initial investment, but it also actually stands to make more from it in the near future.  According to Ladurantaye, SiriusXM Canada has a cash pile worth about $35 million that is growing by $9 million per quarter, and that a material dividend could be considered within 18 months.

SiriusXM Canada’s chairman John Bitove told Ladurantaye, “Essentially, CBC got their investment worth $50-million today for free.” 

You can check out the Toronto Sun article here and The Globe and Mail article here for more details.