Get Sirius: The static needs to clear on this stock

— -- Q: Against your suggestion and a friend's, I bought Sirius Satellite Radio (SIRI) when it was at its highest. Will the merger with XM Radio improve things, or should I get out?

A: Some investors just couldn't help themselves when it came to satellite radio stocks.

Sirius shares got as high as $66.44 at the height of the dot-com bubble in March 2000. Now, well.....

Many investors lost money on XM Satellite Radio and Sirius as those stocks collapsed when the companies were separate. Ask Matt readers were warned several times about the risks, as this 2006 column shows.

Here's my most recent look at Sirius, just before the merger.

The question now is whether the combined entity will do better. Sirius and XM have merged into a company called Sirius XM Radio (SIRI). The new company does have some things going for it, including a lock on the satellite radio business. But it still must deal with the problems of people being able to download radio programming free to their MP3 players and the rise of HD digital radio, which requires no subscription fees, only the one-time cost of a receiver. These technologies threaten the Sirius XM Radio subscripton business model.

Becasue the business has changed so much, it's too soon to make predictions about Sirius. Investors will need to see at least a few quarters of results to get a handle on the new company.

You might consider selling your Sirius shares if you have better uses for the money, or if you can use the loss to offset some taxable capital gains or ordinary income when you file your income taxes.

Matt Krantz is a financial markets reporter at USA TODAY and author of Investing Online for Dummies. He answers a different reader question every weekday in his Ask Matt column at To submit a question, e-mail Matt at Click here to see previous Ask Matt columns.