EchoStar, DirecTV Talking with DOJ


EchoStar Communications Corp. and DirecTV Inc. parent Hughes Electronics
Corp. have opened talks with the Department of Justice on possible proposals
that would substantially revise details of their merger, the companies revealed

The direct-broadcast satellite firms, which are trying to combine over the
objections of local TV stations, are discussing 'structural remedy proposals'
with the DOJ, the companies said in a three-page letter to the Federal
Communications Commission, which also needs to approve the deal.

In the FCC letter, EchoStar and DirecTV urged the commission not to act on
the merger until after talks with the DOJ have concluded. The companies said
they don't plan to meet with DOJ officials again until Oct. 28. They also asked
the FCC to stage a public hearing on the merger.

Last Friday, FCC chairman Michael Powell told Fox News Channel the agency was
likely just a matter of days from releasing a decision, which was expected to be

The FCC is attempting to review mergers within 180 days, although the agency
stops countdown when it considers the record incomplete. On Monday, the DBS
merger was at day 151.