Antitrust Group Takes Aim at Sat Radio Merger

A group that has a background in antitrust policy and law took aim at the pending satellite merger at the Portals this week.

The American Antitrust Institute told the Federal Communications in a letter sent Monday that it should deny the proposed combination of XM and Sirius. In its arguments, the group pointed out that FCC rules preventing a single firm from controlling the only two licenses for DARS programming would need to be repealed and that commission policy on promoting competition among spectrum-based services would be abandoned if the deal should win approval.

The institute also targeted the Justice Department's antitrust clearance of the merger in March, telling the FCC in its letter that it "need not and should not follow the DOJ's conclusion" on the deal. The group said the Justice Department decision "ignores the extensive evidence of direct, head-to-head competition between the two firms that has benefited consumers."

The FCC is the final hurdle XM and Sirius need to cross for winning regulatory approval for their merger.