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Hughes Wins OK to Buy Rival Satellite Firm

CALIFORNIA | BRIEFLY: COMPANY TOWN ANNEX

April 02, 1999| Bloomberg News

Hughes Electronics Corp., owner of No. 1 satellite television company DirecTV Inc., won approval from federal regulators to buy rival U.S. Satellite Broadcasting Co. for $1.25 billion, adding customers and channels. The acquisition, announced in December, will help boost competition with cable-TV companies for the $43.5-billion-a-year U.S. home-TV subscription market, the Federal Communications Commission said. Cable-TV companies such as leader Time Warner Inc. were freed from federal rate controls for some of the most popular channels as of Thursday. The purchase also improves DirecTV's competitive position against No. 3 satellite-TV broadcaster EchoStar Communications Corp. Shares of El Segundo-based Hughes, a unit of General Motors Corp., rose $1.50 to close at $51.94 on the NYSE. St. Paul, Minn.-based U.S. Satellite fell 6 cents to $17.06 on Nasdaq. The companies still need shareholder approval.

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