Oprah, meet Howard. Reports in the Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal say the head of the FCC will support the merger of XM, home to Ms. Winfrey, and Sirius, where Mr. Stern holds court, removing the last regulatory hurdle to the long-awaited merger of the country’s only two satellite radio operators. Aides to the FCC chief said he decided to give his support after the companies agreed last week to concessions intended to prevent the new company from raising prices or stifling competition among radio makers, the Post reported. As of last week there was still some static coming from members of Congress, but with the FCC backing the deal it’s unclear how they will make themselves heard.
In his first public comment on the end of the Yahoo/Microsoft merger talks, billionare financier Carl Icahn, said on Sunday the subsequent deal Yahoo forged with Google “might have some merit.” He had previously said a Google deal should be considered a secondary alternative to the Microsoft offer. “While the Google deal is not the same as an offer of $34.375 per share for Yahoo, I am continuing to study it,” Icahn told Reuters. Icahn declined to comment on whether he would continue to press his proxy battle to replace the board of Yahoo.
Belgian brewer InBev warned U.S. rival Anheuser-Busch that it should fully explore its $46 billion takeover offer before doing a deal with Mexico’s Modelo. In a letter that appeared to be aimed at Anheuser-Busch shareholders, InBev suggested that doing a deal with Modelo could impact the value of its $65-a-share takeover offer. Inbev’s Chief Executive Carlos Brito wrote to Anheuser-Busch’s CEO August Busch IV that he was committed to a “friendly combination,” and “we would expect that prior to proceeding with any alternative transaction, especially if your shareholders will not be given the opportunity to vote on it, you would first fully explore our offer and the potential adverse consequences any such transaction could have on the ability of your shareholders to receive our premium offer.”
Other deals of the day:
* French market watchdog AMF has approved the merger document of Gaz de France and Suez, removing one of the last hurdles to the utilities’ long-delayed 100 billion euro ($153.3 billion) merger.
* Shareholders in Australian miner Zinifex approved a A$4.3 billion ($4.0 billion) takeover by fellow miner Oxiana, creating Australia’s third-largest diversified mining group. The new company said it would look at any assets BHP Billiton may need to sell to satisfy anti-trust regulators in its bid to acquire Rio Tinto