Nearly 17 months after first being proposed, the Federal Communications Commission finally approved the merger of Sirius Satellite Radio and rival XM Satellite Radio.
The news comes four months after the U.S. Justice Department approved the union and the two companies instituted a three-year price cap and agreed to set aside 8% of their combined channels for public-interest and minority programming. The new company will also offer "à la carte" pricing within three months of the deal's closure.
"I am delighted to announce the completion of this exciting merger between Sirius and XM," CEO Mel Karmazin said in a statement. "We have worked diligently to close this transaction, and we look forward to integrating our best-in-class management teams and operations so we can begin delivering on our promise of more choices and lower prices for subscribers."
By joining forces, Sirius (home to Howard Stern) and XM (exclusive carrier of Major League Baseball) now has over 18.5 million subscribers, making the newly christened Sirius XM Radio the second-largest radio company in the U.S.
According to MTV, “the deal's main opposition had come from the National Association of Broadcasters, the trade group that represents free radio stations, which waged a lobbying campaign in Congress and at the FCC to stop the merger, arguing that it would create a pay-radio monopoly. But in March the Justice Department's Antitrust Division ruled that the merger would not harm consumers because there are enough other ‘competitive alternative services’ to satellite radio.”
Let the cursing begin!
MTV.com: Satellite radio merger finalized