The proposed Sirius (NASDAQ:SIRI) and XM Satellite Radio Merger (XMSR) merger saw a bit of a boost on Thursday from a federal judge who ruled against the governments attempts to block the Whole Foods (WFMI), and Wild Oats (OATS) merger.
In a decision that rejected the governments assertion that such a merger would be anti competitive, the court has paved the way for the merger process to continue. The government can appeal the decision if they choose, but no indications have been made.
While organic foods and satellite radio may seem light miles away from each other, there are some very distinct correlations between these mergers:
We believe the synergies gained from this combination will create long term value for customers, vendors, and shareholders as well as exciting opportunities for team members.
Some readers may initially think that this quote is from Mel Karmazin of Sirius or Gary Parsons of XMSR, but it is actually a statement made by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey.
Analysts following the Whole Foods merger often cite strikingly similar stances that translate well into the satellite radio merger. Oft cited is that while organic foods is a specialized segment, it is indeed part of the overall supermarket business, and that traditional supermarket chains carry a growing array of organic foods on their shelves. Translating that to the Sirius merger is actually quite easy. Satellite radio is simply a part of the overall audio entertainment sector, and traditional radio, cell phones, Internet, and i-Pods all participate in this overall business.
This decision in theory may bolster the street's sentiment on the Sirius and XM merger, while at the same time give confidence that even if the government attempts to block the merger, that Sirius and XM could have a favorable court decision. If nothing else, this decision lays precedence groundwork for not only the Sirius and XM merger team to consider, but government regulators as well.
It would not surprise me to see a small flurry of analyst activity in this sector. The correlations are close, and it is only natural that comparisons will be made.
Disclosure: The author is long SIRI, and XMSR, but has no position in Whole Foods or Wild Oats.