FCC formally opens XM-Sirius merger review


WASHINGTON -- U.S. communications regulators on Friday took a step forward in reviewing Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.'s proposed acquisition of XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.

The FCC said it formally opened its review of the deal for public comment, a move that starts a 180-day review clock.

The FCC has a 180-day target for completing merger reviews, although the target is not binding and the agency sometimes takes longer to evaluate major transactions.

Sirius plans to buy XM in a deal that would combine the only two providers of satellite radio service in the United States and has sparked concerns among some U.S. lawmakers and consumer groups.

The deal is currently being reviewed by both the Justice Department and the FCC, which issued both satellite radio licenses in 1997 on the condition the two companies would never merge.