[Updated to include joint statement from Sirius-XM]
It's difficult to interpret exactly how the FCC's request for additional info weighs in on the Sirius-XM merger prospects.
From one side, it's a request that comes fairly late in the game - which could be an indication that the Commission isn't as far into the process as originally hoped. As Bank of America analyst Jonathan Jacoby puts it, the timing of the request "indicates to our contacts that the FCC isn’t as 'in the bag' as many on the Street believe."
Perhaps the late request means that FCC isn't as near to reaching a decision as previously assumed?
On the other side, it could mean that the FCC is anticipating a decision by the DOJ, and is finalizing their own information collection procedures. The move could also be meant to appease those who've asked for the clock to be stopped (NAB, U.S. Electronics, etc.) based on the need of more information.
The quick two-week turnaround required - while not stopping the clock - might be perceived as a positive, since there's definitely a degree of urgency there. The requests are also very specific, which could be that the FCC is dotting i's and crossing t's as we near the end of this ordeal.
Superstar analyst Robert Peck of Bear Stearns brings another thought that should be even more encouraging to merger-hopefuls. His thought is that the DOJ could be nearing approval, which means the FCC needs to finalize their own process.
"If the DOJ were close to denying the deal, the need for such detailed information would not have arisen in the first place," writes Peck in a recent note.
So the FCC asking for more information could be an indication that the DOJ will be approving the merger, as has been widely rumored, otherwise the Commission would simply deny the merger on the basis of Rule 25.118.
UPDATE: I asked Sirius-XM about the FCC's request, below is their joint response:
"This is a next step in the regulatory process. It is not a surprise. This is information that has already been collected for the DoJ and is easy to share with the FCC. We continue to work with regulators and expect the merger to close by the end of the year."