Analyst Tom Watts was quick to the keyboard after it was announced that commissioner Copps had voted no on the proposed merger of Sirius and XM. The analyst noted that the Copps vote was “no surprise”, and that he was still looking to FCC commissioner Tate for the final approving vote on the merger deal.
Watts notes several points which have been oft discussed by this publication, including the fact that it is enforcement issues, and perhaps not more stringent concessions that commissioner Tate is seeking. “The focus remains on Republican Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate. Her key concern is reported to be the companies. prior violations of FCC rules in their deployment of repeater towers. An announcement of an enforcement action by the FCC came out last Friday, however, the matter has been under consideration by the FCC for some time. We expect the companies to reach an arrangement that could include a fine and/or a timetable for bringing all repeaters into compliance. Such an arrangement should address Commissioner Tate’s concerns, enabling her to vote in
favor of the deal.”
Watts calls Adelstein a “fallback option” for Sirius and XM, stating that Adelstein has expressed a willingness to negotiate his proposal. Personally I see Adelsteins proposal as a deal breaker, and he would need to move substantially to come to a deal that the satellite radio companies would feel comfortable with. To his credit, Watts see it more likely that the merger will gain approval with Tate rather than with Adelstein, a position I agree with.
Position: Long Sirius, XM.