Those who have an interest in the outcome of an FCC decision on the satellite merger continue to lobby the agency in the wake of this week’s decision by the Justice Department to let the stock swap, now valued by the principals at $5 billion, proceed.
Sirius attorneys have met with FCC staffers, including the chairman, reiterating their position, according to agency filings. So have representatives of Georgetown Partners, the Consumer Coalition for Competition in Satellite Radio and Ibiquity Digital.
C3SR calls the deal a “merger to monopoly” that should be blocked, and in a recent discussion with Commissioner McDowell underscored the importance of a package with conditions requiring ongoing enforcement, according to an agency filing.
In a recent meeting with commission staffers, Georgetown Partners reiterated that approval of the merger would harm the public interest by allowing a single company to control all 300+ channels and 25 megahertz of SDARS spectrum. It urged the commission to insist on a new SDARS entrant, according to a filing. Georgetown has lobbied that a lease arrangement for satellite transmission infrastructure and a minimum of 20% of the spectrum capacity be in place before Sirius and XM are allowed to close their deal.
Also, in a March 20 meeting with Chairman Martin, Ibiquity President/CEO Bob Struble and General Counsel Al Shuldiner reviewed the competitive implications of a merger on the HD Radio rollout.
Ibiquity is concerned that long-term deals with automakers XM and Sirius have locked in, as well as subsidies and incentives, could discourage automakers from including HD-R in the dash. A combined satcaster would have a better economic position to continue that trend, and weaken the IBOC rollout, Ibiquity argued, according to an FCC filing.