Japanese sat players to merge

If plans go ahead, new platform will be the largest in Japan

TOKYO — Japanese satellite broadcasting companies PerfecTV Corp. and Japan Sky Broadcasting (JSkyB), partly owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., are expected to merge in February, company sources said.

The merger plans were settled during a meeting Friday among Murdoch and the other JSkyB partners — Sony Corp., Fuji Television Network Inc. and software publisher Softbank Corp. — with PerfecTV officials.

If merger plans go ahead, the new platform will be the largest in Japan and will pose a major threat to market upstart DirecTV Japan.

JSkyB and PerfecTV currently share hardware and some programming. Sony Corp., which is also a PerfecTV stake holder, would likely be the largest investor in the new venture.

PerfecTV is expected to accept the merger proposal next week and the two companies hope to reach a basic agreement by the end of January, the paper said.

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