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According to their original operating licenses, the two companies were not allowed to ever own each other's license.
In 1992, AMSC established a unit called the American Mobile Radio Corporation, dedicated to developing a satellite-based digital radio service; this was spun off as XM Satellite Radio Holdings, Inc. Hugh Panero served as XM's CEO from 1998 until July 2007, shortly after the merger with Sirius was proposed.After trying for four years, on December 21, 2010, Sirius XM received approval from the FCC to add service in Alaska and Hawaii.Sirius XM announced on January 17, 2011 that it would place repeaters in those states and adjust three of its satellites to cover those areas. On April 11, 2013, a New York appeals court upheld a New York judge's ruling, from April 2012, that Howard Stern was not entitled to stock bonuses based on Sirius XM's exceeding subscriber target projections.After a 57-week review process, the Justice Department approved the Sirius and XM merger on March 24, 2008, concluding that satellite radio competes with terrestrial radio, online streaming, and mp3 players and tablets.
On July 25, 2008, the FCC approved the merger with a 3–2 vote, determining that it was not a monopoly because of all the competition on the Internet.At the time of the merger, Sirius' top programming included channels for Howard Stern, and Martha Stewart; live NBA and NFL games; and live NASCAR races.