Real Reason Behind XM-Sirius Merger Deal

You want to know why XM and Sirius are talking merger now? Politics. It's all politics.

I know, I know. The deal makes good business sense. They both have a hell of a lot better chance surviving together than separately. But that's not why they're talking getting cozy now. They feel the chill in the merger air now. And they feel it getting chillier.

Frankly, the new Congress doesn't much flip over corporate America. Talks about wanting to raise taxes on corporate America. Even rein in run-away salaries for corporate America. Yaps about hiking capital gains taxes, dividend taxes, lots of taxes.

And I think Mel Karmazin, being the business genius he is, figured, you know what? This ain't good what's going on down there. And it's going to get worse. Pretty soon, we could have a Democratic president, too, to round out the liberal, business-bashing trifecta. So let's push this deal now before all deals are out the window, period. With a Bush Justice Department. And as yet, still Republican dominated, Bush Federal Communications Commission.

Hardly sure bets either will go Mel's way. After all, both went after Microsoft pretty aggressively. But I think old Mel figures, better odds passing muster with these guys — who could give me a shot — than new guys, who might sooner want me dragged out and shot.

A bit over-stated, but nothing overstated in saying this. There will be a lot more — and I mean a lot more — mergers to come. Tons of 'em. Record numbers of 'em.

Not because the market isn't inviting, which it is. But because the political tea leaves might not always be, and they won't.

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