Do you mean higher pops compared to no merge, or an APAC merge (for example Gav and MDN to Dalborra)? Because myself and others compared population numbers at our peak/your off peak, and a merge would be same pop-wise on the imperial side, and much better on the pub side (this was looking at fleet sizes on The Bastion).
If pop sizes are similar, then keeping a server available in Australia is a much more favorable solution, as we will then still have our great ping, and be able to keep our communities fairly intact.
Not favourable to their bottomline! Maybe we should ask the ousted EA CEO what he thinks.