Regulators Set to Approve NewsCorp's DirecTV Deal

24 November 2003

Federal regulators reportedly plan to approve News Corporation's $6.6 billion (€5.5bn; £3.9bn) takeover of leading US satellite-television operator DirecTV.

According to stateside newspaper stories, the ever-garrulous 'people familiar with the situation' have revealed that neither the Federal Communications Commission nor the Justice Department will stand in the way of Rupert Murdoch's foray into the US pay-TV market.

Expected to conclude by year-end, the regulatory review has reputedly found no reason to block the deal. However, some conditions are anticipated.

One option FCC officials are considering is to insist that NewsCorp's broadcast TV network Fox enter arbitration with cable operators to settle pricing and other arrangements. Cable firms are worried that the deal will give the Murdoch empire too much power and allow it to hike programming rates.

The FCC may also ask DirecTV to speed up its roll-out of local TV services.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff