New York — Cowen and Company analyst Tom Watts reports today that Thomas Barnett, assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice, (DoJ) will approve the Sirius/XM merger sent Sirius and XM stocks up four percent.
Watts also concluded in a report to investors that the DoJ might discuss the Sirius/XM merger as early as next week.
Watts said Barnett’s approval “would come despite a [DoJ] staff recommendation against the deal” and added that the pattern of the Antitrust Chief acting against his staff’s recommendations occurred, as well, in 2006 in the DoJ’s approval of Whirlpool’s acquisition of Maytag.
“We continue to expect both DoJ and [Federal Communications Commission] approval of the deal,” said Watts, adding, “Denying the deal would have to be based on the ludicrous position that satellite radio does not compete with terrestrial radio or any other form of mobile communications. The DoJ and FCC have always coordinated on past transactions, coming to compatible conclusions.”
Also today, Sirius and XM said ISS, the leading independent proxy advisory service, has recommended that Sirius and XM stockholders vote “for” the companies’ merger proposal.
Sirius and XM will each hold a special meeting of stockholders to vote on the merger on November 13 at 9 am and 3 pm, respectively.
The ISS analysis said a merger would yield synergies of $6 billion.
To merge, Sirius and XM must receive approval by both the FCC and DoJ. The FCC is charged with determining if the merger would be in the public interest, and the DOJ determines if the merger would be anticompetitive. Many expect both agencies to decide on the merger by the end of the year.