Minority-Led Investor Proposes XM-Sirius Merger Variation
Georgetown Partners Plays Public-Interest Angle in Meetings with FCC Officials
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/2/2007 12:53:00 PM
With talk in some quarters that the Justice Department could rule on the XM Satellite Radio-Sirius Satellite Radio merger as early as next week, investor Georgetown Partners was meeting with Federal Communications Commission officials Friday pitching a restructuring of the deal.
Both the FCC and Justice would have to sign off on the merger.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson said earlier this week that he opposed the merger of the two satellite-radio companies as detrimental to minority interests. Minority-owned Georgetown Partners agreed, saying that the deal "fails to meet any definition of serving the public interest." But the company argued that it could be made to serve that interest.
Georgetown is proposing that the FCC condition the deal on requiring XM/Sirius to lease infrastructure and channel capacity to a minority-controlled entity -- say, one backed by Georgetown -- that could provide "effective competition."
"Georgetown Partners is prepared to work with Sirius and XM to realize this important public-interest objective through a restructured transaction,” the company said in a letter to the FCC.
It was meant to be an FCC chairman Kevin Martin-friendly pitch, since the chairman has proposed allowing TV broadcasters to lease excess digital-TV spectrum to "designated entities," which would include minorities.
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