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Citing concerns about anti-competitive and anti-consumer effects, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that he has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to utilize its role to carefully review the proposed license transfer between Sirius and XM. Sirius and XM are the only two companies in the United States that provide satellite radio service.
In a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, Attorney General Van Hollen asked the Commission to take into account the broad public interest of the proposed license transfer between XM and Sirius. Van Hollen issued this letter to the FCC after the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it would not attempt to block the Sirius-XM merger, nor order divestitures, despite the fact that the merger would eliminate all competition in the satellite radio industry.
In September, 2007, Van Hollen wrote a letter to Thomas O. Barnett, the Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust for the United States Department of Justice to block the merger between XM and Sirius.
"The FCC's standard for reviewing a license transfer is broader than the United States Department of Justice's merger review, and I think that this transfer should raise several red flags for the FCC," Attorney General Van Hollen said. "The Sirius-XM deal is anti-competitive and anti-consumer."
A copy of Attorney General Van Hollen's letter to FCC Chairman Martin can be found here.
A copy of Attorney General Van Hollen's letter to Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Barnett is available here.