Updated from 12:25 p.m. EDT
Sirius Satellite Radio
XM Satellite Radio
have earned tentative clearance from the Federal Communications Commission to merge, according to reports.
The Wall Street Journal
, quoting sources close to the negotiations, said Wednesday that FCC commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate will break the FCC stalemate by siding with Chairman Kevin Martin and his list of stipulations for the satellite radio providers.
Shares of XM, which
Tuesday, surged 9% to $9.92. Sirius was lately up 4.4% to $2.48.
In addition to Martin's laundry list of concessions -- which includes a-la-carte pricing and a three-year cap on price increases -- Tate will approve the XM-Sirius deal in exchange for a consent decree that resolves several enforcement issues involving the satellite radio companies and a combined fine of about $20 million for the transfer of licenses, according to the report.
Martin has also sought an open standard for the manufacturing of radio receivers, spectrum set aside for additional public interest channels, and that service be extended to Puerto Rico, where neither company currently offers service.
An FCC source confirmed to
that commissioner Robert McDowell will also back Martin's list of requirements. Representatives for XM and Sirius decline to comment on the report.
"There was some controversy with Tate at the end and whether she wanted to make the process more complicated," says RBC Capital analyst David Bank. "The real question becomes at what point is it all in the stock. Now, the story becomes long-term execution and whether or not they can be successful. The stock is now trading up into the acquisition and it will now depend on the guidance the joined company."
Earlier Wednesday, FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein withdrew his conditional approval and joined commissioner Michael Copps in opposing the deal. Last week, Adelstein said he would approve a deal based on a list of concessions. He proposed that price caps should extend to six years after the deal is completed, doubling what FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is seeking from the two satellite companies.
Adelstein also wanted to have 25% of the joined company's spectrum set aside for public interest channels.