Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sirius/XM merger unlikely

When word first surfaced of a possible merger between the XM and Sirius satellite radio networks, I wondered if it had a chance of passing regulatory muster. It would obviously create a monopoly in the new medium, which could not be good for consumers.

The latest news is that the chair of the FCC says current regulations do not permit such a merger.

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Kevin Martin, said yesterday that the two satellite radio companies, Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio Holdings, would not win approval of a merger under current regulatory rules.

A ban on a single owner for both satellite services was written into the regulations that authorized the two nationwide licenses, Mr. Martin said after an F.C.C. meeting.

“There is a prohibition on one entity owning both of these businesses,” he said in response to a question.