More Action - and Debate - on Merger This Week
The clock on the proposed XM/Sirius merger keeps ticking … and ticking … and ticking ….
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin said Friday that he is seeking input from other commissioners about the deal. "I think some of the commissioners do have concerns about the transaction, and all I'm saying is if they have concerns, they need to articulate what they would like to see done about it," he said at a press conference.
Martin has floated a proposal among other commissioners that would clear the merger, with a few conditions. Reports this weekend suggested that FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell would likely vote for the Martin proposal.
Meanwhile, in a note released Friday, Blair Levin of Stifel Nicolaus said action surrounding the still-pending satellite radio combination could heat up this week at the Federal Communications Commission, given that a key FCC Commissioner - Deborah Taylor Tate - is back from an overseas trip. Tate has been the subject of a lot of speculation surrounding the merger, with some suggesting she holds the critical vote on the deal.
With Tate back at the Portals, "We expect that the deal will jump to the top of the action at the commission and that she will focus her concerns on a smaller number of areas where she thinks further modifications of the draft order are necessary," Levin said. "Once she votes, we expect the remaining commissioners to vote relatively quickly, as we do not see any advantage for any of them to sit on their vote … though sometimes the drafting of their statements can add a little more time before an order is released."
Levin said a FCC decision on the merger could come at the end of the month, though there is a possibility a conclusion could slip into August.