There was a point in time when this headline would generate massive response, but after months and months of waiting, and after hearing many times that the merger decision may be getting close, the street may be a bit hesitant.
However, this analysis comes from Stifel's Blair Levin, who typically has had a pretty good read on the pulse of the FCC. In a report issued today, Levin speculates that Chairman Martin may be very close to initiating the circulation of a draft order with the other commissioners.
Levin noted, "We continue to believe that an FCC majority is likely to grant the license transfers necessary to close the deal, with various conditions, including on new tiers and à la carte, a price freeze, interoperable radio, “open devices,” and some sort of leased access to address media diversity concerns, an issue that remains politically sticky."
The merger of Sirius and XM has reached a political banter stage that has many investors as well as consumers frustrated. Stifels Levin feels that the work of organizations such as the National association of broadcasters will not "torpedo the deal", but may act in a manner that slows the review process.
The circulation of a draft order would not mean approval, but rather an intent to render a decision in the near future. It is basically the next step in the process which has been at a virtual standstill for quite some time. At this point, any movement by the FCC would be a positive in that it is one more hurdle that the merger process has cleared.
In my opinion, the issuance of the draft order could happen at any point from today through mid next week.
Position - Long Sirius, Long XM