Finally: Justice Department Approves XM, Sirius Merger

The US Department of Justice has now approved a merger between Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio, according to an announcement issued Monday afternoon.

The tie-up, actually a buyout by Sirius, has been awaiting approval for more than one year.  The green light now shifts the attention towards the Federal Communications Commission, which must also approve the deal.

An FCC approval is not automatic, though a DOJ nod heightens the chances of a similar result.  In its decision, the DOJ broadened the relative market to include a number of consumer entertainment options, including online radio and internet-connected mobile phones.  “The likely evolution of technology in the future, including the expected introduction in the next several years of mobile broadband internet devices, made it even more unlikely that the transaction would harm consumers in the longer term,” the Justice Department stated.

Looking forward, a successful approval process would clearly represent a victory for both satellite companies, though difficult integration and repackaging hurdles await.  The acquisition is valued at roughly $5 billion.