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Analyst: XM-Sirius Merger Ruling Possible Today

The Department of Justice may rule on the proposed acquisition of XM Satellite Radio by rival Sirius Satellite Radio as early as Friday, a Bear Stearns analyst said.

The Justice Department could not immediately be reached for comment.

XM shares climbed more than 15 percent Friday, while Sirius shares rose more than 9 percent.

"Conversations with contacts in (Washington) D.C. suggest that DOJ decision is imminent," Bear Stearns analyst Robert Peck wrote in a research note. He added the decision could come today or Monday.

Peck believes that higher ranking officials at the agency will allow the merger to go through, overruling junior staffers who recommended blocking the merger.

Sirius plans to buy XM in an all-stock deal worth about $5 billion, but the merger, announced in February, has been criticized as anti-competitive by some U.S. lawmakers, consumer groups and the traditional radio industry.

Sirius and XM must win approval from the Justice Department's antitrust division, as well as from the Federal Communications Commission, for their deal to be completed.

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