Martin Looks To First Quarter Decision On XM/Sirius

The FCC will try to complete its reviews of the Siruis/XM and Liberty/DirecTV deals by the end of March.

That's according to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. "If I had to guess, I would guess the commission will be trying to address it in the first quarter of this year." He conceded that the self-imposed deadline for considering the merger of satellite companies XM and Sirius was in December according to the FCC's 180-day shot clock for such reviews. But that is not an official deadline and the date has obviously come and gone.

In fact, Martin said the FCC has not yet completed its analysis and that as recently as a few days ago the commission was meeting with the companies over follow-up questions about some of its data--he did not specify. Martin said that it was customary for the FCC to wait for the Justice Department before weighing in on a merger and didn't know when Justice would be coming out with its decision. But he said that the FCC would not necessarily hold off once it had completed its review.

Martin said the commission was also targeting first quarter for completing its consideration of the Liberty/DirecTV deal, though again he said he expected Justice would come out with its decision first.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.