FCC Staff Blesses Satellite Radio Merger

Sirius-XM deal could go to commission within 3 weeks
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Jun 16, 2008 7:57 AM CDT
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin speaks during a hearing on localism at the FCC headquarters in Washington.   (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
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(Newser) – After languishing nearly a year and a half in regulatory limbo, the merger between XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio may finally get the green light to proceed. The FCC staff has signed off on the $5 billion deal, reports the Wall Street Journal, with some conditions devised by FCC Chairman Kevin Mitchell to protect consumers from price increases.

The companies reportedly agreed to the conditions, which include price caps on service fees and additional service options for 3 years, and a mandate to set aside 24 noncommercial channels. FCC commissioners could vote on approval within 3 weeks. The Justice Department cleared the merger in March, finding that satellite radio has no shortage of competitors, including MP3 players and Internet radio.