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MADISON - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen sent a letter today to United States Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Thomas O. Barnett asking that the United States Department of Justice block the proposed merger between XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio. Barnett heads the United States Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, which has the authority to challenge acquisitions and mergers.
Van Hollen's letter states that "[t]he proposed merger would eliminate competition in the satellite radio industry and the combined XM-Sirius companies would be free to raise prices, stifle innovation, and reduce program diversity." Citing anti-competitive and anti-consumer impacts in Wisconsin, particularly in rural communities, including the significant reduction in the availability of sports and other programming, Van Hollen urged that the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division "block the merger, as it presents a real threat to competition and is a clear violation of the Clayton Act's prohibition on merger-to-monopoly." Van Hollen also offered to assist the United States Department of Justice in any manner that might be useful.