The highly-anticipated Sirius and XM merger may be approved as early as the end of the month, according to an analyst from research group Briefing. The professional quotes an unspecified source who expects government approval of a merger between the two satellite radio providers by the end of January, leaving just six days for the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission to authorize the deal. While unverified, the claim echoes statements by FCC head Kevin Martin, who expects a decision before spring.
A successful merger will leave just one satellite radio provider in North America and has created controversy in the radio business, particularly among Sirius and XM competitors. Rivals such as HD Radio creator iBiquity Digital, as well as larger terrestrial radio networks, have argued it would create a monopoly and hurt their ability to compete. iBiquity in particular has suggested that a merger would need to require bundled HD Radio receivers to provide a fair market. Both Sirius and XM have responded by contending that they compete against traditional radio as well as iPods and other portable media players.