FCC Delays DBS-Merger Review

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The Federal Communications Commission said it wouldn't resume its review of
the merger between EchoStar Communications Corp. and DirecTV Inc. parent Hughes
Electronics Corp. until June 4.

The problem is tied to a spot-beam satellite the companies want to launch to
offer local broadcast signals in more than 210 markets.

When the two direct-broadcast satellite companies filed an application for
the spot-beam bird in January, they said its launch was contingent on the
approval of their merger.

The FCC said the spot-beam plan 'substantially amends' the merger-review
application, and the agency has set up a 45-day comment period.

This marks the second time the merger review has been delayed in the past six
weeks.

On March 7, FCC Media Bureau chief Kenneth Ferree stopped the 180-day clock
on the merger review after the two companies missed a deadline to file some
documents with the commission.

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