Today is a birthday of sorts. One year ago today, February 19, 2007, Sirius and XM announced plans to merge. And after 12 months of debate, investigation, deliberation and prognostication, the deal is still awaiting approval by the FCC and the Department of Justice.
This, despite the FCC’s much-heralded “shot-clock” — under which it has pledged to review mergers in 180-days. That shot-clock frankly looked a little shaky from the start, as the FCC didn’t even start the dang thing until 78 days had passed. Even with that, the FCC remained silent when the deadline passed.
Of course, we’ve come to expect such delay from the FCC, whose official seal contains a figure of a snail. (Well, not really, but it would fit). But the long-delay from the Department of Justice is more eye-catching. What can the Antitrust Division possibly not know about the deal by now?
Of course, rumors of imminent action at DOJ have frequently made the rounds: the DOJ is going to approve the deal, the DOJ is going to reject the deal, the DOJ is going to attach conditions on the deal. I’m half-expecting to read that the DOJ’s dog ate the files on the deal.
Enough delay. I’ve said before that the deal should be approved. Others disagree. But everyone should be able to agree that a year is long enough for the government to make a decision.