Sirius-ly Great Day For Mel
July 25, 2008 at 5:30 AM (PT)
MEL KARMAZIN is still batting a thousand. PETER LAURIA writes in TODAY's NEW YORK POST that with yesterday's official government approval of the satellite radio deal, the slick-talking SIRIUS CEO beat some long odds. While getting clearance to put INFINITY BROADCASTING together with CBS CORP., and CBS with VIACOM, were no easy feats, the SIRIUS-XM combo might just be KARMAZIN's most impressive accomplishment yet.
"This one was harder than the others because you're taking the two dominant players in an industry and putting them together, but MEL still got it done," MORTON PIERCE Mergers And Acquisitions Department Chairman DEWEY LEBOEUF said.
The merger flouts a decade-old FCC rule designed to prevent a SIRUS/XM merger. What's more, the conditions were the same ones KARMAZIN offered as possible carrots at the start of the 18-month process. SIRIUS and XM agreed to offer a la carte programming, develop interoperable radios to receive both companies' signals, free up spectrum for minority programming, and impose a three-year price cap.
The news release announcing the deal in FEBRUARY 2007 included the potential for a la carte programming, and KARMAZIN has publicly pledged repeatedly to freeze prices and offer special-interest programming.