WASHINGTON (AP) - The proposed $5-billion buyout of XM Satellite Radio by rival Sirius Satellite Radio has crossed a major hurdle.
The Justice Department today approved the deal, saying it is unlikely to hurt competition or consumers. Approval came despite opposition from consumer groups and an intense lobbying campaign by the land-based radio industry.
Shareholders approved the purchase last November and the companies say the merger will save hundreds of millions of dollars in operating costs -- savings that will ultimately benefit their customers.
In explaining its decision, the Justice Department said the two companies compete not just with each other but also with other forms of radio and entertainment. It noted that the likely evolution of technology in the future makes it "unlikely that the transaction would harm consumers in the longer term."