WASHINGTON The Federal Communications
Commission is poised to approve Liberty Media's acquisition of
News Corp's stake in DirecTV, a source familiar with the
commission's deliberations said on Thursday.
A majority of the FCC's five commissioners are supporting a
proposal to approve the deal, subject to a handful of
regulatory conditions designed to preserve competition, the
The agency is expected to take formal action within the
next several days.
News Corp struck a deal in December 2006 to swap its
controlling stake in top U.S. satellite television provider
DirecTV Group Inc. for Liberty Media Holding Corp.'s stake in
News Corp., which the companies had earlier expected to close
in the second half of 2007.
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
The transaction amounts to an $11 billion stock buyback for
The deal ends two years of negotiations between long-time
associates and rivals. News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch
and Liberty Media Chairman John Malone, who once helped rescue
News Corp from near bankruptcy.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin earlier this month proposed that
the commission approve the Liberty-DirecTV deal. As part of the
approval, he said conditions imposed on News Corp in connection
with the DirecTV stake should remain in force after the deal.
He also proposed a requirement that Liberty sell its cable
systems in Puerto Rico.
(Reporting by Peter Kaplan; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)