FCC's Martin: Sirius-XM Regulatory Barrier a High Hurdle
The announced $13 billion merger between XM and Sirius might not sail through the U.S. Federal Communications Commission without some rough patches.
Yes, even this FCC, where passionate free-marketeers constitute a 3-2 majority.
First, the merger would have to pass antitrust muster from the Justice Department. Then, there's the FCC.
Here's the big rub.
Each of these two service's FCC operating licenses essentially forbids ownership of the other's license.
Of course the FCC can giveth what they keep away. But will that happen?
Well, maybe not. Four years ago the FCC rejected another type of satellite services merger. That wasn't satellite radio, but satellite tv. EchoStar and DirecTV wanted to merge, but the FCC said no.
But as The New York Times mentions today, FCC chair (and free-marketer) Kevin Martin was asked the hypothetical question last month about what the FCC might do if a deal such as Sirius-XM went before the agency.
Martin said the agency would consider it.
And just yesterday Martin said that the Commission would evaluate this proposal.
But hey, no promises.
“The hurdle here, however, would be high,” Commissioner Martin said.
My prediction: maybe not so high.
Not this FCC.
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