The 16 month merger drama has ended: the FCC has approved Sirius Satellite Radio’s (NSDQ: SIRI) $3.6 billion buyout of rival XM Satellite Radio (NSDQ: XMSR), which means that there will only be one sat radio operator in the country now, with 18 million-plus subscribers. The vote was 3-2 in favor, and as expected, Republican commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate cast the tie-breaking vote to approve the merger. Conditions on the approval included a series of consumer protection conditions, including a three-year cap on prices, setting aside 8 percent of their channel capacity for minority and non-commercial programming and payment of a $19.7 million penalty for past FCC rule violations, reports Reuters.
The joint company will have to build radios that receive both Sirius and XM. Also, FCC will conduct an inquiry into whether HD terrestrial radio signals can be built into all satellite radios.