State AGs Challenge Satellite Radio Merger

The pending merger of XM and Sirius encountered a state-level challenge Thursday, with attorneys general in 11 states writing Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin about their concerns with the deal.

The attorneys general letter sent Thursday took issue with the Justice Department decision handed down earlier in the week that gave the satellite radio companies its clearance to merger operations. The letter stated disappointment that the Justice Department's Antitrust Division would allow the merger to proceed "unchallenged or without the imposition of appropriate terms and conditions that would reduce the proposed transaction's anticompetitive impact."

Given that the FCC has the final say on the XM/Sirius merger, the attorneys general urged the agency to "give due consideration to the many concerns of the states." The letter also offered conditions that could be tied to the deal, such as a la carte pricing and a divestiture of spectrum.

Attorneys general signing off on the letter were from Ohio, Missouri, Connecticut, Nevada, Iowa, Oklahoma, Maryland, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Utah and Washington.