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FCC Asks Sirius, XM For More Merger Info

Washington — Despite reports that a ruling on a Sirius/XM merger may be imminent, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asked Sirius and XM for more information late last week.

A statement from both Sirius and XM said of the requests, “This is a next step in the regulatory process. It is not a surprise. This is information that has already been collected for the DoJ [Department of Justice] and is easy to share with the FCC. We continue to work with regulators and expect the merger to close by the end of the year.”

On Nov. 2, the FCC asked XM Sirius to provide all documents related to its agreements with retailers, such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Circuit City, including information on commissions, advertising credits and subsidies.

It asked for documents on agreements with suppliers and agreements with such talent as Howard Stern and other parties.

It further asked for documents on the agreement between XM and Sirius to develop an interoperable radio and on many other areas including the placement of terrestrial repeaters and regarding the a la carte programming menu.

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, and a recent report from

Cowen and Company

said the DoJ could approve the merger as early as this week.