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U.S. Electronics: Past Compliance Is Germane to Sat Merger

The electronics company advocates appointment of an independent monitor to ensure compliance with conditions should the merger be approved.

U.S. Electronics will likely appeal an FCC decision denying disclosure of many documents the company sought in Freedom of Information Act filings related to Sirius and XM.

The company said in a filing that it believes all relevant documents should be made part of the public record before the commission acts on the proposed satellite radio merger.

While the Enforcement Bureau released some documents to the company, U.S. Electronics seeks more; the documents have to do with the licensees’ compliance record regarding interoperable radios, terrestrial repeaters and FM modulated devices.

The documents are germane to the public record in the deal, states the company, “because of the possibility that the merger if approved would seek to impose conditions upon the surviving network service provider,” states U.S. Electronics in a March 27 filing. The satcasters’ past record of compliance is relevant, believes the electronics company, and it advocates appointment of an independent monitor to ensure compliance with conditions should the merger be approved.

As part of several proposed merger conditions suggested by U.S. Electronics, the merged satellite entity should be barred from engaging in or interfering with the design, manufacture and distribution of satellite radio receivers or other digital devices that can access the satellite radio network.

“The merged entity should also publish and make available the technical requirements and specifications of its network, including reasonably advanced notice of any changes to any qualified partner,” states the company.

U.S. Electronics formerly made devices for Sirius; the companies are now involved in a legal dispute.

Georgetown Partners, which wants to be a satellite radio provider should Sirius and XM get to merge, agrees that past compliance is relevant to the case. In a meeting this week with FCC staffers, it stressed antitrust concerns regarding the recent DOJ decision not to block the deal.

In a commission filing, Georgetown stated that the Justice decision rewards Sirius and XM for their failure to honor the commitment they made to the commission to develop and market an interoperable radio capable of receiving both Sirius and XM DARS signals.

“The public interest requires that a viable competitor be established in the market if the commission decides to approve the merger,” Georgetown stated.