Sirius, XM Tie Knot up North

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An expected merger between Sirius Canada and XM Canada has finally come to fruition. Financial media across Canada broke the story last week, heralding Sirius Satellite Radio Canada's pending purchase of a 58 percent interest in Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings, operator of XM Satellite Radio Canada. The deal, structured as a stock and debt swap, is said to be valued at roughly half a billion dollars. U.S.-based Sirius XM Satellite Radio will continue to hold a minority interest in the joint firm.

The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that the current deal lagged behind the U.S. merger by more than two years because both companies simply wanted to see whether that deal ultimately achieved positive results. Meanwhile, a story in the Winnipeg Free Press suggested that both companies were just waiting in the wings for OEM receiver numbers to hit critical mass before going forward the deal. Either way, the combined enterprise is expected to be more aggressive about increasing OEM receiver penetration while expanding its online content delivery to smartphones and other Web devices.

Combined Canadian satellite radio sub numbers now total about 1.7 million in a nation of just under 35 million people.

The deal still awaits final approval by Canada's CRTC, but most observers there expect the deal to close without controversy in the first quarter of the New Year.

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