updated 04:15 pm EDT, Thu March 20, 2008
Analyst on Sirius XM
The Federal Communications Commission is in the midst of producing the approval for the long-delayed merger between Sirius and XM, says analyst Blair Levin of the financial group Stifel Nicolaus. Levin cites "rumblings" within the FCC which point to the US government body already in the midst of writing an approval for the union of the two satellite radio providers. No clues are given as to the proximity of a deal or whether there will be conditions attached, though Levin warns that a combined company may be required to lease access to other companies to avoid monopoly concerns.
The Stifel Nicolaus comments line up with a timing estimate supplied by FCC chair Kevin Martin, who himself said a final decision was likely by spring. The merger has been on hold at the FCC and the US Department of Justice for over a year and has been hotly contested by traditional radio broadcasters, many of whom have demanded either an outright dismissal of the merger or else have hoped to attach their own products' success to that of the merger. iBiquity Digital has suggested requiring HD Radio receivers to be included with every satellite radio under these conditions.
Sirius and XM have both maintained that a merged company would not represent a monopoly, as the two must already compete with HD Radio as well as iPods and other portable media formats.