Monday, March 24, 2008

XM / Sirius merger approved!

Looks like that two month extension XM and Sirius gave each on the merger deal paid off after all -- federal regulators have finally approved the $5B deal. The Department of Justice's Antitrust division says that after "thorough and careful review" (we'll say -- it's been over a year), it's determined that allowing the two satellite radio companies to merge "is not likely to harm consumers." The deciding factor appeared to be the proprietary hardware needed to receive both XM and Sirius; since consumers who shell out aren't likely to switch, the DOJ doesn't think the marketplace is all that competitive to begin with, which makes the impact of a merger relatively small. In fact, the DOJ thinks the merger could actually benefit consumers, who might see lower prices as the result of more efficient operations, broader programming options, and faster rollouts of new technology. Of course, it's not all over yet -- the FCC still has to weigh in, but it's largely expected to follow the Justice Department's lead here.
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