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EchoStar lawyers: Deal inside five months - Broadcasting & Cable

EchoStar lawyers: Deal inside five months

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EchoStar Communications Corp.'s acquisition of DirecTV Inc. will be approved
by the Department of Justice in three to five months, the company's attorneys
predicted.

Washington, D.C.-based attorney Peter Standish discounted petitions filed by
broadcasters and a rural telecommunications cooperative that asked regulators to
block the deal because it would place all of the direct-broadcast satellite
spectrum in the hands of one entity.

Standish told analysts antitrust regulators will endorse EchoStar's bid for
new capacity to greatly expand its TV-channel and broadband-service
offerings.

'Capacity is created by reclaiming spectrum, and they will draw the
conclusion that this is the right way to go,' he said.

His comments were offered during a conference for analysts sponsored by
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co.

Even though some rural markets will be left with EchoStar as the only
multichannel distributor, Standish insisted that the rivalry between multiple
retail equipment providers and installers in a market will provide sufficient
competition.

He also predicted that few extra conditions will come with regulatory
approval besides a national pricing plan that EchoStar has proposed.

Attorney Stephen Houck dismissed concerns that states' attorneys general will
disrupt the review by filing lawsuits against the deal.

Turning the review over to the DOJ is more efficient in the states' eyes, and
it allows them to pool resources with the federal investigators, he
added.

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