Sirius and XM: so close, and yet…

May 12, 2008

Nate Davis, XM’s President and Chief Executive OfficerSirius Satellite Radio and XM Satelite Radio want the FCC to know that they are ready.


Sure, combined they racked up $230 million in losses in the first quarter. And they added 600,000 net subscribers, to make a combined total of over 17 million.

So what?

What everyone wants to know is when their proposed merger — you know the one announced back in the 1990s in February 2007 will finally close. After 15-months, the individual performance of each company, while important, takes a backseat to knowing when they can combine their efforts. Or,  should the deal fall apart, when they can go back to scratching and clawing for the next hot media property (like the “Dr. Phil Channel” or “The 24-hour World Series of Poker Channel.”)

Each company hosted 45-minutes-short conference calls and sent their respective CEOs up to the microphone to say, “We are Ready“, like the Father at a holiday feast proclaiming that the time has come to stop horsing around –he is about to carve the roast beast.

XM’s Nate Davis seemed to say, “You are great, but I hope this is goodbye.”

Let me just say while the process has clearly been a protracted one, we remain hopeful that we are nearing the end of the process and that this will be the last stand-alone quarterly earnings call we will have.

Sirius’ Mel Karmazin comments were a little more, shall we say, pointed.

This is our fifth quarterly conference call since we announced the merger and…

Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin

I share the sentiment I hear from many of you regarding the length of time it is taking to complete our transaction. It is almost 350 days on the FCC clock from when it was put on public notice. (Mediafile: He said the FCC usual mulling time is 180 days). We also share the outrage that some have expressed to me regarding press reports of opportunistic parties trying to take advantage of the process and extract value for themselves that properly belongs to Sirius subscribers and shareholders.

I am optimistic that we are getting close to the finish line and will be able to close the deal.

The only problem is, noone knows how close “close” is.

According to Cowen and Co. analyst Tom Watts, that could be, any day now… or not.

The next step toward an FCC approval will be an Order for Circulation issued by FCC Chairman Martin where he will circulate his recommendation and proposal to fellow Commissioners. While timing of this Order is uncertain, its importance implies that an FCC meeting is not necessary to approve the merger.

(Photo: XM CEO Nate Davis,; Sirius CEO Karmazin, Reuters file)


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A fake war, Katrina, GITMO, wiretaps, a failed Federal reserve under Greenspan and now an FCC hell bent on the political careers for their Commissioners while displaying professional malfeasance.

I once respected the FCC. Not anymore. Never again.

Living in Communist China looks better daily. This country is obviously broken.

Posted by Mika | Report as abusive

What we have here is a Monopoly in Space completely unregulated and a threat to the way we do business and communicate. Earth Radio was broadcast to anyone willing to buy the technology required to get it. Space radio is broadcast to those willing to subscribe and pay for the technology to receive it. How you get on air in space is not a Democratic process. Freedom of speech is threatened by commercial interest and a monopoly unregulated by anything in this world. Make the sale, but end the requirement for the subscription service. Is this Mika B from MSNBC? She’s I Dream of Jeannie with a Brain.

Posted by Cecil Jones | Report as abusive

The FCC should be hung for holding Sat Radio Hostage.
Never have we had a FCC like this.

The fcc has made so many blunders that it makes one wonder are thet taking money or are they that stupid.

HD radio and internet on power lines something the FCC of the past would never have approved.

AM radio is now almost usless because of adding HD to the signal. Stations are jamming each other and internet over power lines jams 2 way radio everything. Can it be that the FCC is so stupid?

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Just get it done — we’ve waited long enough !!!!!

Posted by A.C. | Report as abusive

Well knock yourself out, there, Mika.

Posted by Tim McMillen | Report as abusive