Just three weeks after pulling out of takeover negotiations for Hughes Electronics, parent company of the much-coveted DirecTV [WAMN: 20-Jul-01], EchoStar Communications is back in the running with an unsolicited stock-swap bid valued at $30.4 billion.

DirecTV, the nation’s largest satellite TV broadcaster, has long been the target of Rupert Murdoch’s ambitions and discussions between General Motors – which controls Hughes – and Murdoch’s NewsCorp are currently at an advanced stage.

However, Charlie Ergen, chairman of America’s second largest satellite player, is determined to put EchoStar back in the frame despite an earlier thumbs-down from GM – said to have been motivated by antitrust concerns.

DirecTV has some ten million subscribers, EchoStar around six million and their combined market share dominates the US satellite TV sector. Industry observers believe any deal between the two could be delayed for at least twelve months by prolonged antitrust investigations.

News source: Wall Street Journal