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FTC/DOJ OK With Liberty Broadband Spin-Off

The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice have signaled they have no antitrust issues with the planned spin-off of Liberty Media's interests in Charter Communications into a new tracking stock, Liberty Broadband.

That came in a list of deals that are getting early termination of their Hart Scott Rodino antitrust reviews. Early termination of the review means that the reviewing agency—either FTC or DOJ, though likely the DOJ—saw no reason to block or condition the deal.

Two weeks ago, Liberty set Nov. 4 as the date for completion of the spin-off.

"We believe the creation of the Liberty Broadband tracking stock and the concurrent rights offering will provide us greater flexibility to, among other things, support Charter in its expansion efforts," Liberty chairman John Malone said back in March.

Part of that planned expansion could come through the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger. Charter will benefit from Comcast's spin-off of some systems to make the deal more palatable at the FCC.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.