Reaction Surfaces on DIRECTV/Liberty OK
Apparently, the Justice Department quietly closed its antitrust inquiry into Liberty Media's takeover of a controlling stake in DIRECTV, the last hurdle for the companies to complete their transaction.
And there was some - but not a lot - of reaction to earlier approval for the deal handed down by the Federal Communications Commission.
The FCC signed off on the deal late Monday. Conditions were tied to the transaction, including how the companies would address the conflict between DIRECTV's service to Puerto Rico and Liberty's cable operation on the island.
Proposed conditions related to DIRECTV expanding local TV service to smaller unserved markets were not placed in the FCC's approval order. And that had broadcast interests talking.
"We continue to believe that rural America and those who live in smaller markets deserve the same access to high quality broadcast programming as those living in the largest markets, and we would hope the FCC re-visits this issue," said Dennis Wharton of the National Association of Broadcasters.
The broadcast lobbying group said it is looking at Capitol Hill for a local-into-local fix. "We look forward to working with Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and other members of Congress to ensure that all satellite TV customers have the opportunity to receive news, entertainment and lifeline services provided by local television stations," Wharton said.
As expected, DIRECTV was happy with the FCC decision.
"We are pleased that the FCC has approved the application and this transaction can now be completed. We welcome Liberty Media as our largest shareholder and we look forward to breaking ground on this exciting new chapter at DIRECTV as we provide an ever-increasing number of customers the finest television experience available," the company said in a statement.