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Saturday, December 20, 2003

The Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department yesterday approved News Corp.'s purchase of Hughes Electronics Corp.'s DirecTV home-satellite system, giving Rupert Murdoch a crucial missing piece in his global satellite empire.

By a vote of 3 to 2, FCC commissioners allowed the $6.5 billion cash-and-stock purchase to go ahead with a number of conditions meant to keep News Corp. from using DirecTV as a lever to raise programming prices to rival cable and satellite companies. The merger gives News Corp. a controlling 34 percent interest in Hughes.

News Corp. is the parent company of the Fox television network, Fox News Channel, FX and Fox Sports regional cable channels. Opponents of the merger feared that News Corp. would raise its programming prices to cable rivals, such as Comcast Corp., or threaten to withhold Fox programming to drive customers away from cable and to DirecTV.


Follow up on the stuff I posted this morning. Somewhere, Lord Vader is steepling his fingers together and laughing his aluminum ass off.

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