The FCC has requested more information from XM (NSDQ: XMSR) and Sirius (NSDQ: SIRI) pertaining to the companies’ proposed merger. As the WSJ reports, the agency specifically wants to know about duplicate programming that could be eliminated as well as the interoperability of the companies’ technology. The market is taking the request to mean that a deal is looking more likely, as both companies shares’ are up strongly on the news. XM’s shares are up a bit more than Sirius (10 percent vs. 4 percent), suggesting that it has more to lose if the deal isn’t approved.
Still, the Kremlinologists following the FCC’s actions are split on what the request means. According to Reuters, Banc of America analyst Jonathan Jacoby told clients: “Our contacts believe that the timing of the request is a problem and possibly indicates that the FCC is far from reaching a decision. Bear Stearns analyst Robert Peck had the opposite take: “If the DOJ were close to denying the deal, the need for such detailed information would not have arisen in the first place.”
As for what XM and Sirius think of the request, their joint response is simply: “This is a next step in the regulatory process. It is not a surprise. This is information that has already been collected for the DoJ and is easy to share with the FCC. We continue to work with regulators and expect the merger to close by the end of the year.” (via Orbitcast)