Reading the tea leaves of delay, Reuters reports (via Drudge) that the DOJ may be gearing up to derail the planned merger, announced 10 months ago, between the nation’s two satellite radio providers:
The delay may be due to the complexity of the issues raised by the merger of the only two U.S. satellite radio companies — or because the Department of Justice (DOJ) is putting together a case to block the deal in federal court, analysts at Stifel Nicolaus said in a research note on Thursday. Alternatively, top officials at DOJ may be leaning toward approval but might still be weighing arguments from staffers who oppose the deal, Stifel Nicolaus said.
Only in the mind of a regulator or a terrestrial radio broadcaster (i.e., competitor) could this proposed merger present issues of great complexity–the only issue on the table is the market definition, which may be contentious but is not overly complex, except perhaps to those who wish to make it so.
My suggestion: The FCC and DOJ should look at who’s opposing this merger in defining the market.
If this is a complex case, antitrust enforcement is, whatever its merits or lack thereof, just broken. It’s a wonder that any proposed merger gets through review, no matter the outcome.
For more on the merger, check out these thoughtful posts by TLF’s Adam Thierer: