US satellite radio firms agree to pay to settle complaints

Approval of a merger of the US' only two satellite radio companies was imminent after the pair agreed to pay to settle charges they violated federal rules.

Sirius Satellite Radio's proposed €2.3 billion (US$3.6 billion) buyout of rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings has been before the Federal Communications Commission for 16 months, an Associated Press report also said.

The five-member commission is deadlocked at 2-2, but Republican Deborah Taylor Tate was expected to cast the deciding vote approving the deal once a consent decree outlining the enforcement action is circulated for a vote.

'This was an issue that Commissioner Tate thought was important for us to deal with prior to her supporting the merger,' FCC chairman Kevin Martin said. 'I think that this was a significant issue that we can take off the table that I think will allow us to move forward soon on finishing up the merger.'

Tate had apparently sought a fine of €5.1 million (US$8 million), according to FCC officials who asked not to be named because the deal was not yet final.

Martin said the agency reached an agreement where XM will pay €11.1million (US$17.5 million) and Sirius will pay €1.4 million (US$2.2 million) to resolve interference complaints and violations related to land-based signal repeaters operated by the companies.