The Federal Communications Commission voted 4-0 to deny EchoStar
Communications Corp.'s planned takeover of Hughes Electronics and its DirecTV
Inc. direct-broadcast satellite division, with chairman Michal Powell declaring
that approving the deal 'flies in the face of 30 years of communications
Powell said the takeover would 'replace a vibrant, competitive market with
a regulated monopoly. . . At best, this merger would create a duopoly in areas
served by cable and at worst a monopoly in areas not serviced by cable.'
The deal will be referred to an administrative law judge if the companies
want to pursue it, but that will take months and put the deal past a Jan.
21 drop-dead date.
The Department of Justice is also leaning against the
deal, but it has not yet ruled.