Sirius, XM Stockholders Approve Merger
[11-13-07 – Satellite Today] Stockholders of Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. approved the proposed merger of the two satellite radio companies, Sirius and XM announced Nov. 13.
The preliminary count indicates that more than 96 percent of Sirius shares and 99.8 percent of XM shares voted for the deal.
“The approval by Sirius stockholders of our merger with XM represents a significant step in the approval process …,” Mel Karmazin, chairman and CEO of Sirius, said in a statement. “We look forward to completing the merger by the end of the year.”
The deal must still be approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Separately, Reed Hundt, chairman of the FCC from 1993 through 1997, came out in favor of the merger. It was during Hundt’s tenure that the FCC set the rules for satellite radio and granted Sirius and XM their licenses.
“It seems to me that what has happened over time is that these two firms have proved when kept apart to be incapable of mounting the really serious competition against … terrestrial radio that I had always hoped for,” Hundt said in the interview, which was filed with the FCC. “And it seems to me that there’s no indication of any anticompetitive outcome if they do combine, so let’s give them a chance to have a sharper point on the arrow and see if they can do better in terms of penetrating the listener audience.”
Hundt said that changes in the entertainment market since the licenses were granted should outweigh the rule that forbid the companies from merging. “There are so many new ways to generate and deliver content to listeners that the idea that either satellite radio as a distinct market or that satellite radio is the only competitor against terrestrial broadcasting — neither one of those ideas holds water anymore,” he said.