06 June 2008

A glacier is a large, slow-moving river of ice, formed from compacted layers of snow, that slowly deforms and flows in response to gravity.

As you may very well know the entire staff here at GCI is appalled by the glacial pace of the FCC on the XM/Sirius merger deliberations.

In an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box" this morning FCC Chairman Kevin Martin defended the obscene amount of time his agency is taking to decide whether they will green light the proposed merger between XM and Sirius saying,

"This is an unusual circumstance...we have a rule that prohibits this merger... This was unlike any other merger that has come before us... XM and Sirius are asking for something extraordinary and the Commission is taking a look at it."
Martin then said he expects a vote on it soon. It seems the Chairman also hinted that he, personally, may be in favor of approval, as he mentioned the concessions offered by the satellite radio companies.

What, exactly, has taken 16 months for the commission to analyze? Apparently a fine print rule that was supposed to prevent the two desperate companies from ever merging in the first place.

But despite his bullshit explanation, the way that the FCC has been dragging this out is inexcusable and naturally it is in the interest of some of the competition to delay the merger with numerous restatements of their objections, as it hurts XM and Sirius financially.

XM had postponed their annual shareholder meeting to 16 June from a considerably earlier date, in anticipation of a merger decision. Hopefully that will be in hand when they meet with what will be an increasingly uneasy group of investors.

It's obvious the satellite radio industry is not a stellar one, with growth slowing and external competition heating up. Meanwhile, both companies continue to burn cash. The FCC's glacial pace is nothing short of reprehensible.

FCC Chairman Martin: Sirius-XM 'Difficult,' 'Unusual' (SIRI, XMSR) {Silicon Valley Insider}

More on the merger from us here

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