By Todd Shields
June 18 (Bloomberg) -- Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. are unlikely to allocate more channels for minority broadcasters than recommended by a top federal regulator, U.S. Representative G.K. Butterfield said today.
The two pay-radio companies, seeking regulatory approval for their merger, have agreed to set aside 4 percent of their combined channels for use by commercial minority broadcasters.
Some members of the Congressional Black Caucus want a greater minority set-aside, and invited Sirius Chief Executive Officer Mel Karmazin and XM CEO Nate Davis to a meeting last night in the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
``It's the most that can be agreed upon,'' Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat who took part in the meeting, said in an interview. ``Now the question becomes, what is the process for awarding these channels to minority-owned companies?''
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin recommended his agency approve the all-stock combination of the only two satellite radio companies earlier this week with conditions including the 4 percent set-aside. The five FCC commissioners are privately deliberating, with no deadline to vote on the $3.57 billion deal.
Butterfield, who described the meeting with Karmazin and Davis as ``very cordial,'' said he was speaking for himself, not the Congressional Black Caucus.
Antitrust authorities cleared the combination in March, leaving the FCC as the last legal hurdle. Its members aside from Martin have given little indication how they will vote.
New York-based Sirius is offering 4.6 of its shares for each share of Washington-based XM, its larger competitor.
Sirius dropped 7 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $2.43 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. XM lost 35 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $10.28.