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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Xm & Sirius Merger News

XM, Sirius Rise; Stifel Says FCC Drafting Approval Papers
Posted by Eric Savitz

I almost hate to do another post that says the government approval process for the pending XM Satellite Radio (XMSR) merger with Sirius Satellite Radio (SIRI) is nearing conclusion; every few weeks some analyst explains why the deal is close to completion. And then it never happens.
That said, here we go again. Blair Levin, a Washington-based analyst with Stifel Nicolaus, writes today that “there are further signs that the DOJ review of the proposed XM-Sirius merger is getting close to completion.” Levin says he understands that the FCC is drafting a document to approve the deal. “The FCC rumblings bolster our sense that the DOJ will likely clear the deal followed by FCC approval with conditions,” Levin writes.
Levin thinks the conditions could require the combined company to lease some of its capacity to independent programmers.
“We think the critical FCC question is whether the two Democrats [on the FCC], both of whom have expressed concerns about the merger, could be persuaded to vote for the deal if a leased-access condition were included,” he writes.
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