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iBiquity Responds To Sirius/XM Proposed Merger

Columbia, Md. — HD-Radio developer iBiquity weighed in on the proposed merger of Sirius and XM in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). 

Although iBiquity said it has no formal position on the merger, it urged that FCC approval of the merger be contingent on two stipulations: one, that HD Radio technology be included in all satellite radio receivers, and two, that a merged Sirius and XM be prohibited from entering exclusive arrangements with suppliers, retailers and car makers and that it terminate existing exclusive relationships.

Sirius’s exclusive relationships include agreements with Ford, BMW, Mercedes Benz, RadioShack and distributor Directed Electronics.  XM’s exclusive relationships include agreements with General Motors,  Honda, Nissan and Terk Electronics, owned by Audiovox.

iBiquity noted that a “combined XM/Sirius could be in a better position to hamper iBiquity’s ability to introduce HD Radio technology into the marketplace” and that exclusive arrangements between XM and Sirius and auto makers could “serve as a barrier to iBiquity’s ability to sell HD Radio receivers to end users.”

A spokeswoman for iBiquity would not elaborate on the recommendations but said, “We are making sure that moving forward, we continue the success that we’ve had until this point.”

XM had no comment on the letter, filed with the FCC on Dec. 20, in summary of a meeting between iBiquity and the FCC.

Regarding other comments on the merger, Sirius recently responded to more than 40 filings by U.S. Electronics (USE) regarding the merger.  Sirius said the filings amounted to asking the FCC to insert itself in contractual disputes between USE and Sirius, and said USE’s filings “have nothing to do with the public interest.”

USE Counsel Charles H. Helein said USE is asking that the FCC stipulate a merged Sirius and XM open their network so that any device maker could make Sirius/XM products.