The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

The bride doesn't have cold feet. The groom doesn't have cold feet. They're just still waiting for the minister to show up.

XM Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: XMSR  ) and Sirius Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) have agreed to wait until May to exercise their rights to call off their proposed merger.

The satellite-radio stars want to get hitched as quickly as possible, to get their synergies flowing. But they have to keep waiting on the regulators -- in this case, both the Department of Justice and the FCC -- that have refused to rule on this proposed merger, which was announced 375 days ago.

No one appears more incensed about the regulatory foot-dragging than CNBC's Jim Cramer. This week alone, he has ripped into the delay on both his own Mad Money show and as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel's late-night program. He isn't sparing any blows, either. He's accused certain members of Congress who have supposedly warmed up to terrestrial-radio lobbyists for slowing the deal's approval process.

To be fair, XM, Sirius, and the National Association of Broadcasters have all spent their share of lobbying money over the past year. But still, who doesn't get a kick out of Cramer when he's in pit-bull mode?

I've had my differences with Cramer in the past. The guy's trading approach in weaving in and out of Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq: ISRG  ) has been absurd. Still, I'm behind him completely on this one.

I may not spring for the tinfoil headwear required to buy into his conspiracy theories, but I'm completely shocked to see that it takes more than a year to decide on a merger in this digital information age.

Some may argue that time is on the side of XM and Sirius. Digital audio innovations have evolved around them -- including cars with MP3-loaded hard drives and iPod jacks -- to the point at which it's laughable to consider the XM-Sirius alliance a monopoly on eardrums.

However, time cuts both ways. Every quarter that regulators don't make a decision, the two companies incur steeper losses in growing their subscriber bases.

Sure, regulators don't have a fiduciary duty to shareholders. However, since XM and Sirius have already made concessions, such as offering lower-priced tiers and interoperability of receivers after the deal is approved, regulators are cheating both shareholders and consumers out of money.

More importantly, if regulators and lawmakers feel lobbyist pressure to nix the deal, then someone sees a combination as a competitive threat -- which in itself invalidates the theory that an XM-Sirius union creates a monopoly.

So keep shouting it from the rooftops, Cramer. I never thought I'd say this, but I've got your back.

For more on satellite radio:

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (7)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 588856, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/27/2016 10:32:38 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 1 hour ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,169.68 -29.65 -0.16%
S&P 500 2,133.04 -6.39 -0.30%
NASD 5,215.97 -34.29 -0.65%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/27/2016 4:00 PM
SIRI $4.11 Down -0.13 -3.07%
Sirius XM Radio CAPS Rating: **
XMSR.DL $0.00 Down +0.00%
XM Satellite Radio CAPS Rating: No stars
ISRG $663.23 Down -2.49 -0.37%
Intuitive Surgical CAPS Rating: ****