Earlier today, the Department of Justice approved the buyout of XM Satellite Radio by Sirius. The agreement between the two companies had been announced early in 2007, but inexplicably, it took more than a year for the DOJ to come to a decision. In fact, it took 399 days from the day of announcement to Justice’s approval. We have reaction from all over the place to the merger. I’ll also look for a sports angle to this.
First, some links on the story.
The Orbitcast blog which follows all things satellite radio was on top of the story when it broke late this afternoon on the East Coast. Naturally, the National Association of Broadcasters which lobbies for radio behemoths Clear Channel, CBS Radio and Citadel, among other groups, was unhappy with the news.
CNBC’s Jim Cramer who had been calling for the merger on his popular Mad Money show, is now calling for the Federal Communications Commission to quickly approve the merger.
Paul Thomasch and Kenneth Li of Reuters write that Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin is the big winner in the merger.
John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable writes that Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, chairman of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee wants the FCC to block the merger. And Eggerton adds that Massachusetts Representative Edward Markey, chair of the House Telecommunications & Internet Subcommittee wants conditions attached to the combined Sirius-XM.
If you want to read what the DOJ said, then you can read the full news release here.
And we get the combined reaction of Sirius and XM.
As far as sports are concerned, this will give the sports fan the ultimate place to listen to just about all of the major events on the calendar.
For disclosure purposes, I am a Sirius subscriber. I bought two receivers so I could listen to Howard Stern and have become a fan of Whatever Radio hosted by Alexis Stewart and Jennifer Hutt.
Sirius is the satellite rightsholder to the NFL, NBA, NASCAR, Wimbledon, the NCAA Men’s Tournament and the English Premier League. However, its sports programming lags behind XM which has MLB, NHL, PGA Tour, the Bowl Championship Series, the major college basketball conference, the World Cup, the Triple Crown, Indy Racing League and the U.S. Tennis Open.
ESPN Radio is on both services, Sporting News Radio is on Sirius, Fox Sports Radio is on XM. With the new Sirius-XM, the sports fan won’t have to suffer without the other service. There will be new pricing plans if you want to hear the other service on your current receiver. All this will be sorted out when the merger is approved by the FCC and that should be coming in April.
Hopefully, it will come in time for baseball season so I can finally listen to the Red Sox on my Sirius receivers.