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News-Hughes Merger Back on Track

Rupert Murdoch's U.S. satellite merger is back on track at the Federal Communications Commission.

On Monday, the Federal Communications Commission restarted the 180-day merger-review clock on News Corp.'s $6.6 billion deal to take operational control of Hughes Electronics Corp., parent of DirecTV Inc.

The deal got sidetracked at the FCC when the agency sought more data from News Corp. and Hughes. The FCC stopped the clock at day 149.

The resumption of the clock means that the 180-day review should conclude prior to the end of the year, consistent with Murdoch's plan to take charge of DirecTV by Dec. 31.

The merger needs the approval of the FCC and the Department of Justice. Approval is expected, but conditions on how News Corp. uses retransmission consent for its 35 owned-and-operated Fox stations might be attached to the approvals.