Karmazin Optimistic On Merger Approval (SIRI, XMSR)

March 12, 2008 by Douglas A. McIntyre

Mel Karmazin, CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI), has commented at the Bear Stearns Media Conference that he continues to be "very optimistic" over receiving proper regulatory approval for its pending merger XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: XMSR).

What is a bit different here is that Karmazin noted this approval is "such an easy call for regulators."  This is obviously a point of frustration now that the deal is more than one year old.  We recently got an exclusive interview of our own with Representative Gene Green of Texas, a chief opponent of the merger, and that didn’t give us the brightest prospects of a regulatory approval.

Karmazin has also noted that if there was a big issue with the merger, it wouldn’t take the DOJ so long to reach a decision.  This is still a "very pending" deal that has not yet been approved at the DOJ nor at the FCC.   

We recently noted that the companies delayed the walk-away date for the deal.  Another note was that talks at the FCC level have recently accelerated and their approval decision could be nearly simultaneous with a decision from the DOJ.

Karmazin has also noted that he is open to concessions for regulators if they don’t harm profitability or the actual business.  Goldman Sachs recently panned satellite radio regardless of the merger approval or disapproval.

Jon C. Ogg
March 12, 2008