FCC Chair Supports Sirius-XM Deal

    June 16, 2008

Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin said he would back the merger of XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio under voluntary conditions created by the two companies.

"As I have indicated before, this is an unusual situation," Martin said. "I am recommending that with the voluntary commitments they’ve offered, on balance, this transaction would be in the public interest."

"They have voluntarily committed to setting forth price constraints, so the prices for consumers do not increase; smaller packages at lower prices; an open standard for radios; the sale of interoperable radios; and additional public-interest programming for noncommercial use and for qualified entities that have not been traditionally represented."

The smaller packages are part of the companies plan to offer programming similar to a la carte model the chairman supports and as a way to lower prices and increase choice for multichannel radio and TV. Those packages would be available about three months after the merger’s approval.

The two companies have committed to not raising prices for 36 months, to provide interoperable radios within a year of the merger’s approval  and dedicate 8 percent of their spectrum for noncommercial use.

The merger deal, offers 4.6 shares of Sirius for every XM share, is valued at around $7.54 billion, down from $11.4 billion when first announced in February 2007.