FCC approves XM-Sirius merger

Deal passes by 3-2 vote

NEW YORK - The Federal Communications Commission finally made things official late Friday evening.

As expected, the agency approved in a 3-2 vote Sirius Satellite Radio's acquisition of XM Satellite Radio when Republican commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate, who had delayed her vote to secure certain concessions, gave the deal her thumbs-up.

The merging companies had a few days earlier agreed to pay a combined $19.7 million in fines to settle past FCC rule violations.

The deal approval ends a long regulatory review that started after Sirius and XM first announced their merger plans in Feb. 2007.

The Justice Department signed off on the combination in March.

"I think it's going to be, in the end, a good thing for consumers and be in the public interest," FCC chairman Kevin Martin told the Associated Press in confirming the final vote Friday night. "Consumers will enjoy a variety of programming at reduced prices and more diversified programming choices."

The companies didn't immediately comment on the regulatory approval.