updated 01:30 pm EDT, Wed July 23, 2008
FCC Tate Edges to Merger
The lone Federal Communications Commissioner that has yet to publicly decide on the merger between Sirius and XM is likely to vote in favor of the deal, claims a source of Reuters. The news agency says that Republican Deborah Tate is allegedly close to an agreement which would have her approve the union of the two satellite radio providers and give the supporting camp the necessary three of five Commissioner votes it needs to greenlight the merger.
Tate hasn't commented on the matter, nor has FCC chairman Kevin Martin, who is reported as pushing for Tate's vote.
A vote by Tate will be essential to the merger, as Democrat Jonathan Adelstein is now known to have backed out of his tentative support after it became clear that the conditions he wants, which include setting aside as many as 25 percent of channels for public or minority use, are unlikely to gain support from other FCC officials.
The Sirius/XM deal has been one of the longest-delayed FCC approvals ever and has raised vocal concerns both from some US Democrats as well as from terrestrial radio companies, both of which claim a single satellite radio provider would amount to a monopoly rather than one competitor among many different radio formats.