AAI claims DOJ softened antitrust standards


The American Antitrust Institute is "alarmed" that the Department of Justice lowered its standards to allow the merger of XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. AAI says that DOJ took the standard wherein the mere possibility of price increases due to lack of competition is enough reason to turn the merger down, and turned it on its head, allowing the merger because it wouldn’t necessarily increase prices, setting what AAI sees as a dangerous new precedent.

AAI said that it "…is alarmed that, with this press release, the DOJ has created a higher standard – replacing ‘may’ with ‘would’ — and focusing only on the effect on prices when such other goals of antitrust as diversity, choice, and innovation are either ignored or shortchanged. Moreover, the DOJ statement suggests it is using a lower standard for alleged efficiencies, accepting them if they ‘could benefit consumers.’"

AAI President Bert Foer commented, "The DOJ should enforce the law that Congress wrote, not the law they prefer."

It is also a matter of concern that DOJ finds no loss of competition between the two since they have found ways to avoid competing in defiance of their original charters which created two separate entities in order to assure that there would be competition. Two significant competition-avoidance methods have included long-term exclusive pre-installation deals with automotive companies; and the use in incompatible receivers, another situation that has existed in defiance of the companies’ charters.