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Antitrust Group Opposes XM/Sirius

The American Antitrust Institute has weighed in against the merger of XM and Sirius satellite radio companies.

In a filing with the FCC, the nonprofit backers of vigorous antitrust enforcement, argue that neither company has demonstrated that the merger is in the public interest. It also says that neither XM or Sirius has demonstrated that the FCC's 1997 decision not to allow one company to hold both licenses has been superceded by events.

At the very least, the group says, the FCC should "address the merits" of repealing that decision "in a rulemaking proceeding" before deciding whether to allow the merger.

That proceeding, the group suggests, would show that "the merger poses a significant risk of
anticompetitive effects, including higher prices, reduced quality, and reduced consumerchoice."

The National Association of Broadcasters has been fighting hard against the proposed deal, arguing that it would create a monopoly in nationally-delivered radio. XM and Sirius counter that there is a crowded markeplace for audio service, including terrestrial radio, cable radio, satellite, the Internet and iPods and that they will take steps to address any antitrust concerns.