EchoStar-DirecTV comments due Feb. 4

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Petitions to deny EchoStar Communications Corp.'s $26 billion acquisition of
General Motors Corp.'s DirecTV Inc. must be submitted to the government by Feb.
4, the Federal Communications Commission said Friday.

General replies must be received by Feb. 25.

The deal would create a single U.S. direct-broadcast satellite provider that
the companies said would be a more formidable competitor to local cable
monopolies.

The deal would also give EchoStar a majority stake in PanAmSat Corp., which
provides TV-programming distribution via satellite to cable systems and home
viewers worldwide.

EchoStar promised to make available eight new interactive-video channels on
its system, including five to be created by Vivendi Universal.

Vivendi is making a $1.5 billion investment in EchoStar that will help fund
the DirecTV deal.

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