Have you ever seen the television game show Deal or No Deal? The show is hosted by Howie Mandel, and the concept is simple. There are 25 brief cases containing amounts of cash ranging from a single penny to $1,000,000. The contestant picks a case with an unknown amount of cash that is then placed on the table and left closed. The contestant then has the remaining cases opened one at a time to reveal their value. Each time a case is opened, the "bank" makes an offer to buy the contestants unopened case. Initially, the offers are low because there are many values left unopened, and many unknowns. As the game progresses, if high values are exposed, then the offer is adjusted downwards. If low values are exposed, the offer is adjusted upward.
At a certain point, the banks offers typically become very tempting because the odds that the contestants case contain a high value of money get better as low value cases are removed from the field. As each round progresses, the contestant is asked....."Deal Or No Deal". The contestant can walk away with the banks offer, or play on in hopes that their case is the one holding $1,000,000.
Interestingly, there are many parallels between the television show and the satellite radio merger. You have audience members screaming their sentiment on the show, just like the comments filed on the FCC website. You have friends and family that get air time to offer their opinion on the next move, just like all of the Ex Parte filings, and you have a host who sets the stage and orchestrates the drama, just like Kevin Martin.
Satellite radio is now at that "tense" point in the merger game. With the DOJ supporting the merger, the stakes increased. With Martin issuing a draft order, the stakes got even higher. Now that McDowell is rumored to have cast his vote, we are at the ultimate decision in the merger. Three commissioners left, and only one YES vote needed. The question on everyone's mind is DEAL OR NO DEAL. Any one of the three remaining commissioners could bring the merger to fruition, but it would take all three to vote against against to spell defeat. The stakes are high, the audience is screaming, and the more involved parties are lobbying their best arguments...
DEAL OR NO DEAL?
Just like the show, we have to wait just a bit longer to find out.
Position: Long Sirius, XM.