Georgetown Partners Takes Sirius/XM to Task in FCC Filing

Minority-owned private-equity firm Georgetown Partners said Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio misrepresented support for the companies' proposed merger.

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, Georgetown contended that the companies made “misrepresentations of the current record of support for and opposition to their proposed merger.” Georgetown also pointed out that there are no third-party entities on record with the FCC that are opposed to its proposal to alter the terms of the merger.

Georgetown called for the combined company to lease its broadcast infrastructure and 20% of its channel capacity to a minority-controlled entity, claiming that this would alleviate anti-competitive effects of the merger and ensure diversity of programming.

Sirius and XM addressed the proposal in an FCC filing, which prompted Georgetown’s response Tuesday.

Alleging that Georgetown was trying to “manipulate the regulatory process for private gain,” Sirius and XM said last week that the leasing proposal would undermine the benefits of the merger and actually restrict programming for consumers. The companies also said the deal had support with organizations representing underserved markets, particularly singling out the endorsement by the NAACP.

Georgetown took exception to that, given that the NAACP offered its support in June, months before the leasing proposal was made. Georgetown’s letter also cited support for its proposal from the Black Leadership Forum, a 35-member organization that includes the NAACP, as well as six Congressional Black Caucus members.

The Sirius-XM merger has approval from stockholders of both companies, but it remains subject to FCC and Justice Department approval.