Just a day after I wrote about the FCC delaying the merger of Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio, The Wall Street Journal reports that the Commission may be close to approving the deal (Yesterday’s post can be found here). Yesterday, after I wrote about the merger, Democrat Jonathan Adelstein voted against the merger because his fellow commissioners were unwilling to discuss the prerequisites he attached to his vote. That left the decision to Republican appointee Deborah Taylor Tate. According to two sources at the FCC, Ms. Tate is expected to cast her vote “shortly.”
Her vote for the merger will not come without conditions, but her concessions are considered more palatable than those proposed by Mr. Adelstein. Details were not available at the time of posting as FCC officials and lawyers for the satellite providers are still working them out. What is known is that her vote will not only approve the merger, but also resolve enforcement issues facing both companies by imposing a $20 million fine. One complaint against the satellite providers alleges that certain of their receivers exceeded FCC power limits, creating interference with terrestrial radio stations. Terrestrial radio operators also complained that Sirius and XM have placed ground transmitters in unapproved locations. Whatever the complaints may be, Ms. Tate’s vote looks likely to allow the companies to move forward with their merger and focus on their future growth by resolving these rather distracting problems.
As neither the FCC nor the satellite providers have issued a formal statement about these latest rumors, any details reported by The Wall Street Journal are subject to change. I will continue to post as information becomes available.
Source: “FCC Reaches Tentative Deal To Approve XM-Sirius Merger,” The Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2008.