Brunswick, Joele Frank rep satellite merger

NEW YORK: Two of the nation's top financial communications firms are aiding the long-predicted merger of satellite radio titans XM and Sirius, announced last week. But convincing regulators to approve the deal will be perhaps the biggest part of their job.

NEW YORK: Two of the nation's top financial communications firms are aiding the long-predicted merger of satellite radio titans XM and Sirius, announced last week. But convincing regulators to approve the deal will be perhaps the biggest part of their job.

XM is working with the Brunswick Group in both New York and Washington. The New York team, led by senior partner Steve Lipin, is handling the financial communications aspects of the work, while the DC team, led by office head David Shapiro, works on the regulatory challenges.

Sirius is working with Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher on the deal, according to agency partner Andrew Brimmer. Neither Brimmer nor Sirius returned calls seeking further comment on their work.

Since the two companies announced their plans for a $13 billion "merger of equals," speculation has arisen that the deal could face significant antitrust issues. But Shapiro said that XM plans to attack the issue by positioning satellite radio as simply one small part of a large spectrum of audio entertainment-rather than a small industry that consists mainly of the two merging companies.

"The market is much wider than it might appear at first blush," said Shapiro. "There's clearly competition between satellite and traditional radio."

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