Sirius Offers Price Cuts to Sweeten Lawmakers Over XM Merger

02 March 2007

WASHINGTON DC: "Trust me, I'm a radio boss ..." is the message sent by Sirius ceo Mel Karmazin to US lawmakers, pledging to cut subscription costs to consumers if antitrust regulators approve the company's merger with rival XM Satellite Radio.

He told the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust task force, currently examining the implications of such a union, that it would lead to a fall in prices.

Karmazin, donning the ill-fitting mantle of consumer champion, averred: "The idea of raising prices to compete with free radio is bizarre and doesn't work. We are committed to not raising prices and, in fact, are committed to lowering prices."

But he was unwilling to give much else away, rejecting channel-by-channel subscriptions or tiers of channels at reduced rates, as it would lead to a "loss of revenue".

Committee chairman John Conyers raised a skeptical eyebrow over the price cutting vow and told Karmazin: "We don't have too good a record of satellite companies keeping their promises. 'Trust me' isn't going to work here, not just today, but in the longer-term examinations you will be going through."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff