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XM/Sirius Merger Approved By Shareholders

by @ 6:36 pm on November 13, 2007. Filed under Business, Economics, Satellite Radio, Technology

While the bureaucrats at the FCC and FTC, not to mention Congress, have yet to rule on the issue, the shareholders of both XM Satellite Radio and competitor Sirius have approved the merger that was announced earlier this year:

NEW YORK — Shareholders approved a deal Tuesday to allow Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. to acquire its rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. for about $5 billion, but the largest hurdle has yet to come _ regulatory approval in Washington.

Shareholders of Sirius and XM had been widely expected to approve the deal, which would allow the companies to save costs on programming, acquiring subscribers and broadcasting. Shareholder advisory firms had already endorsed the deal.

More difficult will be getting the deal approved in Washington, where the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission must both give their blessing. Several consumer groups have opposed the combination, saying it would create a monopoly that could hurt consumers.

Sirius said in a statement that more than 96 percent of the shareholder votes cast approved the acquisition, while XM said 99.8 percent of its shareholders were in favor. The companies said they still hoped to complete the deal by the end of the year.

In a sane world, that would be the end of the discussion and the merger would go forward. But we don’t live in a sane world, so we’ve got to wait until a bunch of pencil-pushers in Washington decide if this is good idea or not.

All in all, it strikes me as terrible way to run an economy.

3 Responses to “XM/Sirius Merger Approved By Shareholders”

  1. Keith deClercq says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I subscribe to XM as I am a MLB fan and when on the road I like to listen to my home team, but I also like football so I have to make a choice between services or get both. Everybody that ever goes on the road feels the same way.

    Let the free market work and quit with the BS about we as the FCC or Congress are worried about the consumers.

  2. Mark says:

    Both XM and Sirius claim to offer a variety of future pricing choices/options if the FCC approves the merger. As a long-time XM subscriber, I’ve become increasingly concerned about the potential MONOPOLY that this merger may create for me as a customer. Some concerns:

    1. Both services claim more choice and varied pricing options if the merger is approved. Initially, they look realistic and affordable…but what will they look like 2 years from now…and beyond? If I’m not happy with the future price increases, where will I go?? Apparently, nowhere since I will not have a choice…since there will be no other satelite radio provider choice. In that case, my my receivers will become obsolete and useless.

    2. If approved, will the combined services eventually decide to eliminate some of the duplicate programming choices that they currently offer? For example, both services currently offer the decades music channels. However, I noticed that each service tends to program them somewhat differently (since I am able to receive the Sirius music channels via Dish Network). This raises the question regarding how current duplicative services may be affected as a result of this merger? Will they stay the same and untouched or will they eventually be merged into one? I don’t know whether my voice (and opinion) as a customer will be considered. Let’s face it, most companies are more concerned about their shareholders despite their claims to be customer-oriented.

    I’m not offering a clear-cut answer or recommendation regarding this potential merger. I am just very concerned and feel that my needs and interests as a customer may get lost in the mix as XM’s and Sirius’ tries to post a profit. I like satellite radio and hope it won’t go away since I’ve been subscribing since 2002…but I also want to have a choice as a customer.

  3. Kenneth Taylor says:

    This isn’t a potential monopoly. If the Sirius/XM merger goes through and prices go up or quality drops off, cancel your subscription and go back to free radio. Or try out HDRadio. Or make 2 cds full of mp3s that contain all your 80s favorites and put them in shuffle mode, that’s a good 20-30 hours of music right there. Between portable music services like iPods, in-car services like cds and free radio, and the multitude of online radio services I can’t believe anyone is seriously considering this a potential monopoly.

    I’m a Sirius subscriber, and my wife and I have already picked out what our programming will be if the merger goes through. How can we do that? The company will allow a la carte packages where you choose 50 or 100 channels you want. Prices will go down, as already detailed by Sirius on their websites. They’re not saying ‘maybe’ or ‘probably’, they’re already listing what new subscription plans will be available. Existing receivers will work to pick up channels from either current service. This is an absolute no-lose situation for consumers. The only loser here is broadcast radio, which will see their continually degenerating product used less and less. It’s no surprise that the opposition to this merger, the only people spending money to oppose it, are Sirius & XMs competitors at the National Association of Broadcasters. Their argument: That Sirius/XM won’t have competition. That’s like Wendy’s lobbying against a McDonald’s/Burger King merger. In short, ridiculous.

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