After a long wait of 17 months, the merger between the only two giants of satellite radio–Sirius and XM Radio–is finally over. The combined company, with more than 18.5 million subscribers, is now called Sirius XM Radio. It is set to rank as the second-largest U.S. radio company, based on annual revenues.
Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.’s $3.3 billion buyout of rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. will mean millions of subscribers will be able to receive programming from both services, while executives say it will create huge cost savings for the industry.
Sirius XM Radio will offer more than 300 programming channels spanning exclusive shows, such as those of Howard Stern and Oprah Winfrey, and à la carte programming. Subscribers will be able to select certain programs from each of the two former companies under one package.
The new programs are expected to begin rolling out in early fall. And as the companies previously stated, subscribers can continue to maintain their current service plan. Subscribers will not have to buy new radios to receive a mix of programming from both services, according to the companies. But if they want to pursue a special pay-per-channel à la carte option, they will need new sets.
The companies voluntarily agreed to a set of conditions, including a three-year price cap and an 8 percent set-aside of “full-time audio channels” for public interest and minority programming. They will also adopt an “open radio” standard that may lead to a greater variety of features in radios and greater competition among manufacturers.
XM investors will receive 4.6 shares of Sirius, and the ticker symbol will now trade under “SIRI.” Sirius XM Radio will be headquartered in New York, and its wholly owned subsidiary XM Satellite Radio will remain in Washington, D.C.
I used to work in Panama at a call center that provided customer service to XM Radio clients. I’m happy that both companies are finally joining efforts to provide satellite radio service to the U.S. market. The possibilities of upgrading the quality of sound and programming are enormous. I only regret that satellite radio is not available in Panama. Good Day!