EchoStar to Buy Sling Media for $380M; Considers Spinning-Off of Assets

About: DISH Network Corporation (DISH)
by: Steven Towns

EchoStar Communications, operator of the DISH satellite TV network, announced late Monday it is acquiring privately held Sling Media for $380 million in cash and options. Sling Media's Slingbox connects cable and satellite set-top boxes to the Internet, allowing customers to watch content from their living room via web-connected devices. The deal is expected to close in Q4. "As an early investor in Sling Media, EchoStar has been pleased with the progress and commitment the company has made establishing Sling Media and the Slingbox as powerful and beloved digital media brands," commented EchoStar CEO Charlie Ergen. Sling spokesman Brian Jaquet said the acquisition doesn't change any products or services scheduled to be released, and won't change interoperability of products with EchoStar rivals. Separately, EchoStar said in a statement Tuesday it is considering a spin-off of its technology and assets from its U.S. DISH network business. The transaction is intended to be tax-free for shareholders. "We believe separation of our consumer-based and wholesale businesses could unlock additional value. Each company would be able to separately pursue the strategies that best suit its respective long-term interests," the company said in a Tuesday press release. Shares of EchoStar lost 1% to $41.32 on Monday.

Sources: Press release, BusinessWeek, MarketWatch, Reuters
Commentary: EchoStar Buys Sling Media For $380 MillionEchoStar Snaps Up the SlingboxEchoStar Posts Strong Cash Flow and Ebitda Growth
Stocks/ETFs to watch: DISH. Competitors: DTV, CMCSA, TWC. ETFs: PPA
Earnings call transcript: EchoStar Q2 2007

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