Tax Reform Group Favors XM.Sirius


Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) has filed comments at the FCC in support of the XM/Sirius satellite merger.

ATR President Grover Norquist praised adoption of "block and refund" policies, which allow subscribers to get a refund for channels they don't want and "without being forced by regulation to do so."

"Fans of all major professional sports, shock-jocks and family friendly programming will be able to create packages that appeal to their needs," said Norquist, calling it the free market at work."

Terrestrial broadcasters oppose the merger saying it is a government bailout of profligate spending on programming and will create a monopoly.

Sirius Chief Mel Karmazin, who has taken the lead in pushing the deal to Washington, has countered that his company is not in financial straights, a point seconded by several Wall Street Analysts, and that the merger would not create a monopoly.

Echoing that argument, ATR says that "satellite radio currently makes up only 3 percent of the crowded audio entertainment market."

Sirius is said to be confident that the merger will go through, and close by year's end. Wall Street is divided on the prospects, though several analysts have called the Sirius stock undervalued--it as trading at $3.09 per ahser at press time--with or without the merger.