On a day where the comments of FCC Commissioner Martin made headlines in the morning, to the pleasure of merger proponents, comments of another commissioner, Copps, have taken the opposite tact. According to Reuters, Commissioner Copps made the following comments whan asked about the proposed Sirius/XM merger, and about the buyout Tribune Company:
"Somebody's going to have to make a pretty powerful and potent demonstration that it serves the public interest"
"The parts of the (public) record that I've looked at so far have not shown me that (the deal) serves the public interest"
Copps is one of two democrats on the five member FCC commission that will make the decision regarding the merger.
In contrast to Copps, Martin's comments today were viewed as positive by those following the merger process. Martin was quoted as saying that Sirius and XM have some interesting proposals, and that he saw no worry for satellite broadcasters trying to get into the local advertising side of the business.
Of the two, Copps seemed to step further out onto a limb with his comments today. His indications would seem to be that his is not leaning towards voting in favor of the merger. This news in and of itself should not be anything new to followers of the process. Most who have followed the process, and seen the stances of Copps on other issues would already know in which direction that commissioner would lean.
FCC Chairman Martin has already stated that he intends to bring the matter to a vote in the fourth quarter. The Department of Justice has indicated that they plan to move "as quickly as possible" on the matter. Sirius and XM have stated that they anticipate a decision this year. My guess would be that we will know more in the next month to 45 days, with a shareholder proxy vote date as the next news event in the merger process.
Position - Long Sirius, Long XM