Just when it looked like the merger of XM and Sirius Satellite Radio was becoming closer to reality, lawmakers on the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee have expressed concern about the Justice Department's review of the proposal. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) said in a December 11 letter to newly installed Attorney General Michael Mukasey that he was "concerned about the transparency of the Department's merger review processes."
Reps. Conyers and Steve Chabot of Ohio both wrote, "We were dismayed to learn of recent press reports suggesting that Justice Department staff may be trying to rush through the merger before you have an opportunity to fully participate, and that Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Thomas O. Barnett may intend to grant the merger over the objections of department staff," according to Reuters.
Forbes reported that shares of the satellite radio providers went sliding on Wednesday after news broke about the letter, with investors believing that Conyers and Chabot's concerns may slow the process of finalizing the agreement. Moreover, with the 180-day timeline on the FCC's review already expired, some feel the DOJ's decision on the merger could be delayed until early next year.
Meanwhile, three additional members of Congress joined General Motors Corporation, Club for Growth, Harpo Productions and others in their support of the merger. The latest bi-partisan Congressional supporters include the Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus - Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA), Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) and Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL).
"I find that the merger will not only maintain an advanced technological innovation, it will bolster the industry thereby strengthening our economy. More families and individuals will have an opportunity to access satellite radio," said Baca. Mack added, "The proposed merger will enable satellite radio to become a stronger competitor and will drive all other players in the market, including terrestrial radio, to focus on making their services even more appealing to consumers."