FCC Staff Signs Off On XM (XMSR), Sirius (SIRI); Satellite Still Screwed

From Silicon Alley Insider: The FCC’s staff has given the XM and Sirius merger the go-ahead, which means it’s finally a done deal (after a mere 15 months or so) unless something extraordinary happens in the near future, the WSJ reports.

Technically, the FCC itself has to vote on the merger, and XM (XMSR) and Sirius (SIRI) will have to agree to a couple of concessions (price caps, a pledge to let other companies make receivers, a promise to hand over 8% of the spectrum to third-party broadcasters, etc).

But there’s no reason to think the commission itself won’t approve the deal, likely within the next three weeks. And the desperate satellite guys would agree to just about anything to get this deal done. Unfortunately, we still don’t see a merger helping the two companies out long-term: Consumer apathy plus increased competition are much harder to overcome than federal regulators…

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