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OK on News Corp./DirecTV Imminent

FCC approval of News Corp.’s $6.6 billion bid to control DirecTV could come this week. The Republican majority is said to be ready to OK the deal on condition that an outside arbitrator would settle disputes with cable operators negotiating to carry the company’s programming.

The commissioners are concerned that combining News Corp.’s extensive cable and broadcast programming with a nationwide multichannel distributor like DirecTV would give the company leverage to charge other carriers above-market prices for programming. The Justice Department is also expected to OK the deal.