Banc of America Securities reportedly has said it prefers XM Satellite Radio Holdings over Sirius Satellite Radio despite rival XM's "somewhat disappointing" subscription numbers for 2005.

According to Forbes magazine, the research firm reiterated a "buy" rating and US$36 target price on XM.

"XM announced that it has more than six million subscriptions, but [the] threshold was not reached prior to year-end," Banc of America analyst Jonathan Jacoby reportedly wrote in a note to investors.

The satellite radio company ended the year with approximately 5.94 million subscriptions, mostly from US car owners nation-wide falling short of the research firm's 6.01 million estimate, according to Forbes.

Banc of America said the culprit was weak sales at General Motors, with whom XM has an exclusive partnership, the report noted.

Retail sales at XM were "quite strong" and accounted for 85% of fourth-quarter net adds, according to Banc of America.

The research firm maintained a "sell" rating and $5.50 target price on Sirius, Forbes said.