Will we see (or hear) an XM/Sirius merger decision by months end?

It seems like forever ago when rumors started about a merger between Sirius and XM satellite radio. The rumors were made slightly more official when the two companies announced the "merger of equals" last year. Where have we heard that before? Nobody expected this $4.2 billion transaction to be a sprint, as there are laws with tall hurdles designed to govern this type of business deal, but this conjunction has creeped like an overloaded Tercel up a steep grade.

For more than a year we've been sitting around watching these two companies as they worked on securing shareholder approval (accomplished in November) and the endorsement of regulators (um, not yet). Now we're getting word from Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin that there may be an end in sight. During a talk at the Bear Stearns 21st Annual Media Conference, Karmazin said he "took heart" in recent FCC comments that mentioned that the body aims to rule by the end of March. "The fact that it has lingered this long, it has been interpreted... as good news," Karmazin said. Gary Parsons, Chairman of XM Satellite Radio, added that he was also confident the Department of Justice and the FCC were moving forward "...in a timely manner."

With satellite radio in need of some more customers, let's hope they can quickly put this merger in the books and focus on more important issues like signal reception and more varied content.

[Source: Automotive News, subs. req'd]

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