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Justice Dept. extends review of Gannett-Belo deal

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Justice Department is seeking more information related to Gannett's proposed acquisition of the TV station operator Belo, the companies said Friday.

The department extended its antitrust review of the $1.5 billion deal and the companies said they would respond to the request promptly and continue to cooperate with the agency.

The deal must still be approved by the Federal Communications Commission and Belo shareholders.

Gannett publishes USA Today, and it owns television stations and dozens of newspapers. The purchase of Belo would nearly double the number of TV stations Gannett owns to 43. Gannett would become the fourth-largest broadcast group in the U.S. and its stations would reach nearly a third of U.S. households.

Its offer values Belo Corp. $13.75 per share. The companies expect to complete the deal by the end of 2013.

In June, Gannett announced plans to buy Belo Corp. and its 20 television stations for about $1.5 billion in cash. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. The move will nearly double Gannett's portfolio of stations from 23 to 43. The company's stations will reach nearly one-third of U.S. households.

Shares of Gannett Co. fell 11 cents to $25.13 in morning trading.