It's official: XM and Sirius plan to tie the knot

It's been more than two years since we first reported that XM and Sirius were in talks to merge, and although the New York Post may have jumped the gun a bit way back then, it was certainly on the money today, as the two satellite radio pioneers have just issued a joint press release stating their intention to become life partners. In the proposed $13 billion deal -- which they'd like to go down by the end of the year but which still must pass rather daunting regulatory scrutiny and opposition from such heavyweights as the National Association of Broadcasters -- investors would get 4.6 shares of Sirius stock for each share of XM, with current Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin and XM Chairman Gary Parsons retaining those roles, respectively, in the combined entity (whose name has yet to be decided). As you might imagine, the companies are already trying to spin this as a big win for everyone from Martha Stewart on down, arguing that consumers will end up benefiting from more programming choices and better hardware, manufacturers and retailers will see increased sales, and of course shareholders would gain value through the economies of scale and elimination of redundancies realized from a merger. The new pals also took an opportunity to sneak in a mention about the growing number of choices consumers have for receiving audio content, from old school AM/FM to internet radio to the the still-nascent technologies of cellphone streaming and HD radio, clearly hoping to sway public opinion on that whole anti-trust thing. Still, keep in mind that the FCC is gonna be taking a long, hard look at this one -- in fact, current regulations would need to be changed in order for the merger to gain approval -- so don't get your celebratin' started just yet.

Update: Just in case there was any confusion, both companies will continue to operate independently until such time as a merger is approved, meaning that you needn't fear losing your precious sat feed out of the blue. And even if everything goes according to plan, we highly doubt that your current gear will stop working or that you'll even see an interruption in your service whatsoever.