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After Throwing Cold Water On NWS-DJ, FCC’s Copps Douses Tribune, XM-Sirius Deals

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He might not have a decisive impact on the outcomes, but at least he’s consistent: FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, a long-time opponent of media consolidation, is following up on last month’s warning — that approval of News Corp. (NYSE: NWS)-Dow Jones (NYSE: DJ) was “no slam dunk” — with another batch, Copps continued to bang the drum against that deal in an interview with the WSJ — and cautioned against expectations for other major media mergers, including Sirius (NSDQ: SIRI) and XM (NSDQ: XMSR), as well as Sam Zell’s plan to take Tribune (NYSE: TRB) private. He said Zell shouldn’t assume he will receive approval of necessary waivers that allow the company to operate newspapers and broadcast stations in the same city. He said granting his approval to the deal would be a “steep climb” given his longstanding views.

As for Sirius and XM, despite pledges designed to appease regulators, including a la carte offerings, Copps said that the companies have not moved far enough: “Someone’s going to have make a pretty powerful and potent demonstration to me that this is in the public interest.” A telcom analyst also quoted in the article speculated that Copps brought all this up again as a way to extract greater concessions from the companies involved in the deals.