Digest: Mixed merger talk for XM, Sirius


Shares of XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio rose Wednesday after Mark Fowler, who was chairman of the FCC 26 years ago, endorsed their planned merger. Writing in the New York Sun on Wednesday, Fowler said that an XM-Sirius combination would enhance competition by encouraging traditional broadcasters to improve their offerings. Meanwhile, Bank of America analyst Jonathan Jacoby wrote in a research note Wednesday that his "contacts are less optimistic of the deal passing that the current stock prices imply," and he said retail sales of satellite radio units fell 31% in July year-over-year after falling 34% in June and 22% in May. On Wednesday, Sirius shares rose 4.3% to $3.14 and XM shares were up 4.2% to $13.25.

Eros secures $100 mil in funding

London-based Eros International, a producer and one of the world's largest distributors of Bollywood films, has secured a five-year, $100 million financing facility from Citigroup Global Markets. The financing is intended to be used by Eros for acquisitions, part of its "strategy of consolidating the fragmented Indian entertainment content sector." Eros recently acquired a 51% stake in South Indian Tamil-language film firm Angaran International.

EC sets Reuters deadline

BRUSSELS -- The European Commission has set an Oct. 8 deadline to decide whether it will clear Canadian electronic publisher Thomson's $17.5 billion takeover of news and information provider Reuters without conditions. However, media rivals are expected to raise objections to a quick clearance, which would oblige the commission -- the European Union's antitrust authority -- to launch an in-depth, three-month inquiry. With both companies holding extended media portfolios in markets across the EU, it is expected to demand sell-offs or changes in the way they do business.