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FCC again delays review of EchoStar deal

EchoStar Communications Corp.'s plan to acquire rival DirecTV Inc.
received another delay from the Federal Communications Commission Friday, as the
agency ruled that the company's pending launch of a new spot-beam satellite
offering local TV channels 'substantially amends' the pending merger

its petition to launch New EchoStar 1, the company said it will
serve all 210 U.S. markets, including Alaska and Hawaii.

The launch, however, is contingent on consummation of the merger, the company

Because the satellite's operation and the merger are now linked, the FCC said,
it will suspend review of the deal at least until the comment period on the
public benefits of the launch ends June 4.

The 180-day review clock was already suspended at 77 days pending the FCC's
request for additional financial information from the companies.

The Justice Department's review of the deal is also under