EchoStar asks the FCC to kill Murdoch’s DirecTV deal
June 20, 2003
EchoStar Communications has asked the FCC to reject a bid by media mogul Rupert Murdoch to merge his News Corp. with DirecTV.
In a brief filed with the FCC last week, EchoStar said the proposed $6.6 billion deal would reduce consumer choices, result to higher programming fees, and could lead to collusion between News Corp. and cable companies. Under the deal, EchoStar charged that News Corp. could broker exclusive deals with select cable providers to keep certain programming from other television providers.
EchoStar, whose own bid for DirecTV was blocked last year by federal regulators, argued that News Corp.’s acquisition of DirecTV and its 12 million customers “does not serve the public interest and raises competitive concerns for a number of reasons.” EchoStar also said News Corp.’s home market of Australia doesn’t allow U.S. satellite businesses to compete there.
News Corp., under the leadership of Rupert Murdoch, owns the Fox News Channel on cable, the Fox television network, 35 television stations, 20th Century Fox movie studio and a global satellite empire. In April, Murdoch announced a $6.6 billion stock-and-cash purchase of 34 percent of DirecTV, which he said would bring more channels and features such as interactive television to DirecTV subscribers.
Murdoch previously claimed that the merger would increase competition in the cable markets and provide better service for U.S. viewers.
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