The SIRIUS-XM MERGER
And Antitrust Considerations
By Matthew Sachs
Nov 29, 2014 Executive Summary
In last 10 years there has been a major emergence of a company called XM / Sirius Satellite radio. When fellow competitors XM Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio announced plans for a merger in 2007, most thought that an answer from the FCC would be coming the usual window of six months, allowing for a smooth transition of these two companies. Ignoring a self-imposed rule to handle such cases in 6 months of less, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin chairman withheld the verdict for approximately 17 months as his FCC debated the antitrust issues between Sirius and XM. Briefs were submitted by the Justice Department, individual citizens, and traditional radio broadcasters, arguing that the XM-Sirius merger should have been prevented over antitrust concerns. Ultimately, the Justice Department, and then the FCC, on a 3-2 vote, approved the merger in 2008. This paper seeks to discuss merger and antitrust positions concerning Sirius XM by starting with a history of each individual company, explaining the relevant business law topics and opponents’/proponents’ arguments, and highlighting the post-merger financial success of the combined company.
XM Satellite Radio was actually the first of the two independent satellite radio companies to be launched. It was founded by Lon Levin and Gary Parsons. XM initially started under the American Mobile Satellite