(Adds description of draft's requirements)
WASHINGTON, July 25 Members of the U.S. Federal
Communications Commission were given a new draft proposal on
Friday that would give conditional approval of Sirius Satellite
Radio Inc's (SIRI.O) purchase of XM Satellite Radio Holdings
Inc XMSR.O, an agency source said.
The agency's five commissioners could vote on the draft
proposal as early as Friday evening and were expected to
approve it by a 3-2 margin with the support of all three
Republican commissioners, according to the source.
It would require XM and Sirius to cap prices for three
years, offer programming on an "a la carte" basis, and make
radio channels available for noncommercial and minority
programming, the source said. The companies also will have to
make available to consumers radios that receive both Sirius and
The approval would allows XM and Sirius to clear the final
hurdle in a regulatory marathon that began after the merger was
first announced in February 2007. Antitrust authorities at the
U.S. Justice Department gave their approval in March.
The merger would bring entertainers such as Oprah Winfrey
and shock jock Howard Stern under the same banner. It has been
criticized as anti-competitive by the traditional radio
industry, and by some U.S. lawmakers.
A major obstacle was removed on Thursday when XM and Sirius
said they expected to pay a total of about $19 million to
settle FCC compliance issues involving certain radios that
include FM transmitters and terrestrial repeater stations.
(Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)