EchoStar Tries Again with US Satellite Merger

29 November 2002

US satellite operator EchoStar Communications is persisting with attempts to win approval for its $26 billion (€26.2bn; £16.7bn) merger with larger rival Hughes Electronics despite rejection by regulators.

EchoStar has submitted a revised plan to the Federal Communications Commission, which (along with the Justice Department) blocked the deal last month on the grounds that it would create a satellite-TV monopoly [WAMN: 11-Oct-02].

The two firms have since tried further concessions to win a green light, all to no avail. Details of the latest revision have not been revealed.

EchoStar has added incentive in that it may face a $600 million break-up fee payable to Hughes if, as widely expected, the deal collapses.

Hughes – reportedly the recipient of new soundings from former suitor News Corporation [WAMN: 25-Nov-02] – may sit tight until the New Year. It has the option to cancel the deal if the FCC has not approved it by January 6 or if the merger is not completed by January 21. Either side could become liable for the break-up payment if it drops out before these dates.

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff