FCC chairman Kevin Martin now supports XM-Sirius merger!


It looks like Kevin Martin of the FCC is now supporting the XM-Sirius merger. I think my brain just exploded a little bit.

Yes, 16 months after initially proposing the merger (and three months after the Justice Department gave the green light), the FCC’s chairman has given it a thumbs-up. Said the chairman:

I am recommending that, with the voluntary commitments they’ve offered, on balance, this transaction would be in the public interest

What soaring prose from Mr. Martin!

As you might expect, there are some conditions that both XM and Sirius will have to meet for the merger, which will now need to be endorsed by at least two of the remaining four FCC commissioners, to go through.

For starters, the FCC wants to see price caps on the combined service. That should silence the “now they’re a monopoly and can charge whatever they want!” criticisms.

The combined company will also be expected to set aside some 8 percent of its channels for noncommercial and minority-owned stations for later leasing.

It will also have to license its technology to more hardware manufacturers in order to create a more diverse radio market. Maybe now we’ll see a new portable unit—the Inno and Helix came out two years ago—from someone other than Pioneer and Samsung.

In early trading, XM is up 0.44, while Sirius is up 0.09. This widget should keep updating throughout the day.

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When first proposed, the combined company would have been worth $11.4 billion; it’s now worth only $7.54 billion.

We can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel! Pool party at Anthony’s house!