FTC, IAC Clear Way for NBC-VUE

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The merger of General Electric Co.’s NBC television unit and Vivendi Universal Entertainment cleared two hurdles.

The Federal Trade Commission approved the deal Tuesday, as the FTC said it had closed its investigation without taking action.

Then Wednesday, VUE parent Vivendi Universal said it will issue letters of credit to Barry Diller’s InterActiveCorp that void certain covenants Diller negotiated when he sold his USA Interactive (which became IAC) to Vivendi in 2001, AP reported.

According to AP, IAC retained a preferred interest in VUE with a face value of $750 million that will be worth approximately $1.9 billion when the shares mature in 2022. Diller agreed that IAC would not redeem its interest until the maturity date.

Vivendi Universal agreed to merge VUE -- including USA Network, Sci Fi Channel, Trio and Universal Studios -- with NBC in October in a deal valued at about $14 billion.

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