State AGs Back at Attacking Sat Radio Merger

Meanwhile, state attorneys general who are opposed to a merger between XM and Sirius approached Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin about the pending deal, telling the Portals leader last week that the transaction should not win regulatory approval.

In their conversation with the FCC commissioner, detailed in a filing at the agency, the state AGs said "licensing a monopoly" would not serve the public interest. And they argued that the commission's scrutiny of the deal could be "more flexible than antitrust review, as it involves a balancing of the potential public interest harms against public interest benefits and encompasses concepts beyond competition, such as diversity and localism."

The attorneys general were again critical of the March decision from the Justice Department that the XM/Sirius merger does not raise any antitrust concerns.

If the FCC is poised to approve the merger, the AGs suggested conditions for to the deal. Proposals included leasing spectrum to another party and offering radios that receive both satellite services as well as HD Radio terrestrial signals.

The attorneys general that approached Martin were from Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin.