Official skepticism clouds XM/Sirius betrothal


A while back a few Wall Street types were starting to think the XM/Sirius merger was going to get through the regulatory gauntlet. However, remarks by FCC officials at the NAB’s radio get-together have thrown a little cooled Wall Street’s optimism. At the NAB2007 Radio Show in Charlotte NC, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin (R) repeated what he’s been saying all along, that the two services were created as two to compete with one another in the first place, and as such face a steep hurdle to have that founding principle nullified. Commissioner Michael Copps (D) went further, expressing doubts about allowing the merger to go through.

(According to reports, Copps added skepticism about the transfer of Tribune Co. to an ESOP headed by Sam Zell, largely over his objections to Tribune’s five newspaper/televison cross-owned combinations.) Motley Fool, one of the Streetgazers that saw signs of XM/Sirius going through, weighed in on the situation through somewhat of a back door, saying that Sirius’ pending wedding with XM is reason for skepticism about rumors that it was thinking of allowing itself to be acquired by Google. Besides the existence of a pending change in ownership structure, the Fool looked at such a merger from Google’s perspective. Noting that radio hates the idea of XM/Sirius, and that Google is trying very hard at the moment to develop a business relationship with radio, the Fool asked, "Google would kiss the terrestrial business goodbye in pursuit of the thinner sliver of radio ad revenue available on satellite radio?", and then answered its own question. "Impossible."