BREAKING NEWS: Having lost hundreds of millions of dollars trying to convince consumers that they're different, XM and Sirius are now one and the same.
The New York Post had first reported that merger talks between the two companies were getting hot and heavy, and now, the Wall Street Journal reported moments ago that the $13 billion deal is done, and that Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin is running the show.
From a financial side, this was inevitable and a good thing. The two companies had both been spending money on talent like drunken sailors on shore leave, and while subscriber growth was up, both were awash in red ink. (Sirius lost $162 million in the third quarter of 2006 alone; XM lost $84 million for the same period.)
But from a customer service perspective, it's a disaster: Why does your cable company provide such legendarily bad service? As they say in "The Stepford Wives," "Because we can!" That is, if you don't like your cable company, there's no other cable company to switch to.
This deal will need to clear the FCC, and as of last month, the FCC chairman indicated that the commission wouldn't approve the merger. I wonder what, if anything, has changed? About the only redeeming quality of the new Sirius XM, or XM Sirius, or whatever they're calling this newly conjoined twin, is that listening to terrestrial radio is still about as much fun as being injected with the Ebola virus.