With the announcement today that the Department of Justice has approved the merger, all attention now shifts to the FCC. While getting the antitrust issue out of the way was a large accomplishment, the merger can not be consummated until the Federal Communications Commission gives their blessing on the deal.
It is with the FCC that merger hopefuls now set their sights. The FCC can and likely will attach various stipulations for the merged company to agree to. Activity at the FCC has been busy, and Commissioner Martin has indicated that he has asked the staff to draft documents with several situations for consideration.
The DOJ news sent Sirius and XM upwards, but with this good news also comes the reality that there is still one regulator that needs to render a decision.
The decision by the DOJ is very interesting in that it spells out pretty specific reasoning behind their decision. Some “experts” had felt that a positive DOJ decision was very unlikely. I have always maintained that I felt the market would get a broader definition, partly because of the obvious crossover in platforms that has been happening at a rapid pace over the last few years. I also felt strongly that the DOJ would give a lot of weight to what the competitive landscape would look like in the future. Some were critical of that opinion, but in the end, the DOJ was very specific that technological change weighed into their decision.
At this point, a major step in the merger has been taken. There is one more step to happen. All Eyes Are Now On The FCC.
Position – Long Sirius, Long XM