The FCC today adopted new media ownership rules which will now allow cross ownership between radio stations and newspapers in the top twenty markets in the country. The vote followed party lines with the republicans (Martin, Taylor-Tate, and McDowell) voting in favor, and the two democrats (Copps and Adelstein) voting against.
The issue has been ongoing for quite some time, and is central to some of the contention recently seen at the FCC. According to the Associated Press, Martin went forward with the vote despite members of the House and Senate seeking to delay the process further. The AP also reports that the White House will turn back any action which seeks to undo the FCC vote.
For merger watchers the natural question is whether or not these new media ownership rules are a "quid-pro-quo" for the upcoming vote on the Sirius and XM. While this shouldn't be the case and the merger should be decided on it's own merits, this is Washington. More so than the vote today, merger watchers were focused on what was said and how it could possibly relate to the Sirius and XM proposal. After the vote passed, both Sirius and XM saw an appreciation in their stock prices.
Position - Long Sirius, XM