FCC Restarts Clock for News Corp-DirecTV Review

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Tue Nov 18, 4:50 AM ET Add Entertainment - Reuters Industry to My Yahoo!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (news - web sites) on Monday resumed its informal 180-day clock for reviewing News Corp. Ltd.'s plan to acquire control of No. 1 U.S. satellite television provider DirecTV.

The agency on Oct. 10 put its review on hold to consult with antitrust authorities at the U.S. Justice Department (news - web sites) and to seek more information from News Corp. and DirecTV's parent, Hughes Electronics Corp.

The additional information sought has been submitted and "we also have substantially completed our discussions with the Department of Justice (news - web sites)," Kenneth Ferree, the FCC (news - web sites) official heading up the review, said in a letter to the parties.

There are 30 days left on the review clock, which is not binding. Ferree has said in the past that he hopes to complete work on the deal by the end of the year.


News Corp. has proposed acquiring for $6.6 billion a 34 percent controlling stake in Hughes, giving it access to DirecTV's distribution platform.


FCC Chairman Michael Powell (news) has concerns about the deal that may require the companies to accept additional conditions to win the agency's approval, a source familiar with the situation has said previously.


It was not clear what those concerns or possible conditions were. News Corp. has already made some concessions on sports and local broadcasting.
 
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