Citing “a material change in circumstances,” the FCC released an order on Monday that lifts remaining conditions on the agency’s approval of News Corp’s acquisition of DirecTV from Hughes Corp. in 2003. The FCC’s ruling responds to a petition filed by News Corp., which sold its 41% stake in DirecTV to Liberty Media in a deal approved by the FCC last year. Although the FCC removed most conditions on the News Corp.-Hughes transaction, including those pertaining to program access, upon consenting to the Liberty transaction, the agency retained conditions that require News Corp. to arbitrate disputes concerning the carriage of regional sports or local broadcast stations by multichannel video programming distributors. The FCC noted that the arbitration conditions were adopted originally “to address the same underlying concern as the program access condition—to prevent a vertically integrated News Corp. from using its programming as a means by which to confer on itself and DirecTV an anticompetitive advantage that would harm the public interest.” The FCC thus declared that, “absent vertical integration between News Corp. and DirecTV” as a consequence of the Liberty deal, “the arbitration conditions serve no transaction-related purpose.” While dismissing the objections of cable firms that had urged the FCC to delay lifting the conditions until the FCC concludes its ongoing review of the program access rules, the agency confirmed that parties with complaints pending against News Corp. will still be able to pursue them. Despite its disappointment “that the Commission decided to lift the consumer-friendly conditions,” the American Cable Association (ACA) praised the FCC “for insisting that ACA members that had filed formal demands or provided notice to commence arbitration with News Corp. through today would retain their rights.”