Shareholders approve Sirius, XM deal

Shareholders approved a deal to allow Sirius Satellite Radio to acquire its rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings for about $5 billion, but the largest hurdle has yet to come, regulatory approval in Washington, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said shareholders of Sirius and XM had been widely expected to approve the deal, which would allow the companies to save costs on programming, acquiring subscribers and broadcasting. Shareholder advisory firms had already endorsed the deal.

More difficult will be getting the deal approved in Washington, where the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission must both give their blessing, the report said.

Several consumer groups have opposed the combination, saying it would create a monopoly that could hurt consumers.

Sirius said in a statement that more than 96% of the shareholder votes cast approved the acquisition, while XM said 99.8% of its shareholders were in favor. The report said the still hoped to complete the deal by the end of the year.

The FCC had originally said the two satellite radio companies couldn't combine, but that rule can be changed. Sirius and XM have argued that satellite radio now faces more competition for listeners since the boom in digital listening devices like Apple's iPod, Internet radio and cell phones that can play music, the report said.

Sirius and XM have said that a combined company would offer listeners more pricing options and greater choice and flexibility in the channel lineups they receive.