Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the proposed merger between Sirius and XM Radio. Neither the DoJ or the FCC have ruled for or against the merger yet. Is one year a long time? Yes, it’s “the longest merger approval process ever”:http://www.orbitcast.com/archives/still-waiting-comparing-the-siriusxm-merger-to-others.html. The reason for this is that the “National Association of Broadcasters”:http://www.nab.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home, a lobbying group employed by terrestrial radio (satellite radio’s competitors), has “spent over $4 million convincing the federal government to block the merger”:http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/sep2007/db20070911_112892.htm?campaign_id=rss_daily. Sirius and XM have spent one-quarter of that to get the merger approved.
Arguing that this merger is bad for consumers is difficult. Preventing new companies from competing in the market for broadcasting is bad for consumers, regardless of whether it’s distributed over terrestrial airwaves, satellite, the internet or two tin cans and a string. If the two companies don’t merge, they’ll both go bankrupt. Granted, both should have done the math before spending bajillions launching satellites, but the antitrust laws aren’t intended to help kill stupid companies, they’re there to benefit consumers.
More reasons to approve the merger:
* Well-known economist, and great author, “Steven Landsburg”:http://www.landsburg.com/about2.html wrote in “The Armchair Economist”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/isbn%3D0029177766/103-5861159-0190219, paraphrasing someone else I believe, that the best way to determine if a merger should be approved is if their competitors complain. If they complain, it’s bad for competitors (and good for competition) so approve the merger; if they don’t complain, it’s good for competitors (and bad for competition) so they should block the merger. Obviously, the NAB is complaining so approve the merger.
* John Ashcroft, dumbest Attorney General ever, “was hired as a lobbyist by the NAB after XM refused to hire him”:http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2007/03/02/ashcroft-blasts-sirius-xm-merger/. He wrote a letter to the second-dumbest Attorney General ever, Alberto Gonzales, encouraging him to block the merger. Dumb people like dumb ideas — it’s usually best to do what dumb people don’t do.
* I have one car with Sirius and one with XM and I want to hear Howard Stern and NFL Radio in the car with XM and I want to hear XM’s less repetitive music channels in the car with Sirius. This is reason enough to approve it.
“Sign the online petition”:http://www.petitiononline.com/satmerge/petition.html to have the merger approved and read “Sirius’ merger site”:http://www.siriusmerger.com/site/newsroom.