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FCC says approval is unlikely, but the two satellite radio giants have struck an agreement

Today Sirius and XM announced that both companies have entered an agreement in which the two will merge to form the largest satellite radio service provider in the country. Under the terms of the merger, the single entity formed by Sirius and XM would amount to a total organization value of $13 billion USD. XM shareholders will also receive a fixed exchange ratio of 4.6 Sirius shares for each XM share they own. When the merger is complete, Sirius and XM shareholders will each own 50 percent of the combined company.

According to representatives from both companies, the new combined company will have 12 directors including the current CEOs from both Sirius and XM. Both companies will also continue to operate independently until the merger is complete. As of this writing, a name has not been determined for the new company as is where the new headquarters will be.

DailyTech last reported on rumors surrounding the merger of Sirius and XM. The FCC voiced its opinion early on in the talks between Sirius and XM, indicating that it did not approve of the two companies merging because it would create a satellite radio monopoly. FCC chairman Kevin Martin indicated that an approval of the merger would be unlikely. According to both Sirius and XM however:
The combined company will benefit from a highly experienced management team from both companies with extensive industry knowledge in radio, media, consumer electronics, OEM engineering and technology. Further management appointments will be announced prior to closing. The companies will continue to operate independently until the transaction is completed and will work together to determine the combined company's corporate name and headquarters location prior to closing.
Previous reports on both Sirius and XM indicated that both companies were suffering from losses, especially in 2005 going into 2006. Revenues were dropping and subscribers were leaving from both companies. A merger of the two companies would make sense from a corporate stand point but both companies have to pass grueling anti-trust regulations before the two combine.

Gary Parsons, Chairman of XM Satellite Radio and Hugh Panero, does not seem deterred by the FCC's statements.  "We are excited for the many opportunities that an XM and SIRIUS combination will provide consumers. The combined company will be better positioned to compete effectively with the continually expanding array of entertainment alternatives that consumers have embraced since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) first granted our satellite radio licenses a decade ago."


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RE: I agree somewhat...
By NoSoftwarePatents on 2/19/2007 7:54:04 PM , Rating: 2
I like Sirius better, because they play more obscure stuff than XM does. If you like mainstream, XM is your choice, but those are just my listening preferences.

I have to admit though, Howard Stern was 50% of the reason why I bought into Sirius, but I no longer listen to him on a daily basis, because I like the rare music just as much now, that I couldn't get from other sources so easily.

However, Sirius sounds like it's a 96 KBps Mp3 file, not quite as good as I hoped it would be with the receiver I have.


RE: I agree somewhat...
By SamOfSiam on 2/19/2007 8:45:27 PM , Rating: 2
Well, the benefit of Sirius is that the incorporate variable bitrate with their sat feed, so talk radio usually sounds like the 96Kbps quality mp3. However, Sirius claims that their music is at least 128Kbps, or even 192 (not sure which one).
When I do listen to music stations tho, I agree with you, it kind of sound less than 128.


RE: I agree somewhat...
By goku on 2/19/2007 10:10:11 PM , Rating: 2
Satellite radio really needs to fix their quality as HDradio is out now and is suppose to sound infinitely better.


RE: I agree somewhat...
By NoSoftwarePatents on 2/20/2007 2:16:42 AM , Rating: 2
Until the barrage of commercials goes away OR they increase the number of genres, the less-than-perfect quality of satellite radio is offset by the sheer variety. Also AFAIK, not that many new cars offer HD radio yet.

I live near San Francisco and some of the channels have already converted, but until certain issues are addressed, if ever, satellite will continue to add subscribers. Up to seven or even eight minutes of continuous commercials once an hour is, intolerable to me.

The precise PACE of new subscribers though is unclear.


RE: I agree somewhat...
By Spivonious on 2/20/2007 12:33:35 PM , Rating: 2
I would much rather have one big block of commercials than a bunch of little blocks throughout the hour. When my favorite radio station goes to their commercials, I simply switch over to my second favorite station, which is usually playing music.


RE: I agree somewhat...
By sprockkets on 2/20/2007 11:17:12 PM , Rating: 2
HD radio also uses AAC, haven't heard actual samples of it yet.


RE: I agree somewhat...
By gotincon on 2/21/2007 12:15:23 AM , Rating: 2
HD radio sounds much better (almost CD'ish) than FM. AM and sat radio are about equal nowadays minus RF noise on AM. Sat radio is a POS in term of sound quality. Both services leave me digging my fingers in my ear as if theres cotton in them because of the non-existint high frequencies. Makes you feel like you have earplugs in.


RE: I agree somewhat...
By Heinrich on 2/20/2007 7:17:36 AM , Rating: 2
Ethel and Fred and XMU play far more variety than their counterparts like Alt Nation on Sirius. And where is Sirius' answer to XM's Fungus? You can't find it. Fungus is the reason I have 3 XM subscriptions personally. 1 for my XMPCR, one for my VW GTI and one for my rental cars.


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