Direct Benefit for Murdoch
Merger's Approval Expected After DOJ Wrests Control of Review From FTC
By Doug Halonen
Even some of News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch's biggest critics in Washington last week were privately conceding that the company's $6.6 billion acquisition of DirecTV, though still technically subject to government review, appeared to be a done deal.
One of the latest favorable omens for Mr. Murdoch: Word last week that the Department of Justice, not the Federal Trade Commission, won the right to review the merger for potential antitrust problems.
Watchdog groups wanted the FTC to do the job because the FTC is a bipartisan commission, with Democrats on board. Justice, an executive branch agency of the White House, is all Republican.
"Despite our best efforts, this administration will approve the deal," said Jeff Chester, executive director of the watchdog Center for Digital Democracy.
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