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US Gives Antitrust Nod to Liberty-DirecTV Deal

Reuters
Tuesday, 26 Feb 2008 | 6:51 PM ET

Liberty Media's acquisition of News Corp's stake in DirecTV Group received antitrust approval on Tuesday, a day after U.S. communications regulators approved the deal.

Direct TV
Direct TV

"We conducted a thorough investigation and our investigation is closed," said Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona. "Our investigation did not support an ... enforcement action."

The Justice Department attached no conditions to its approval.

The Federal Communications Commission on Monday said it required Liberty and DirecTV, the top U.S. satellite television provider, to continue to abide by program access and other requirements the agency previously imposed on News Corp to preserve competition.

News Corp struck a deal in December 2006 to swap its controlling stake in DirecTV for Liberty's stake in News Corp.

The deal calls for News Corp to transfer its controlling stake in DirecTV, $550 million in cash and three regional sports networks for Liberty Media's 16.3 percent stake in News Corp.

The transaction amounts to an $11 billion stock buyback for News Corp.

The FCC also required that Liberty "sever" the common ownership of Liberty cable systems in Puerto Rico and DirecTV operations there within one year.

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