Washington - Jul 26, 2008 - After 16 months and a seemingly never-ending debate, the proposed merger of Sirius and XM has been approved by the FCC. In the $3.6 billion deal, Sirius has acquired XM, giving the combined company more than 18 million subscribers.
The final FCC vote was 3-2 along party lines. Republican commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate cast the tie-breaking vote. Earlier this month, Democrat commissioner Jon Adelstein said he would vote yes if more stringent conditions were applied to the transaction. His request was not met, which returned the decision to Taylor-Tate.
The conditions that were approved include a three-year cap on subscription fees, allotting 8 percent of the total 25MHz spectrum for minority and non-commercial programming, and paying a $19.7 million penalty ($17.5 million from XM, $2.2 million from Sirius) for past FCC rule violations. In addition, the combined company will have to provide radios to receive signals from both services. The FCC will conduct an inquiry to evaluate the possibility of adding HD Radio capability to all satellite radio receivers.