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Companies Approach Court on Merger

Discussion in 'General Satellite Discussion' started by Steve Mehs, Nov 6, 2002.

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  1. Steve Mehs

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    As expected, EchoStar and DirecTV approached the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to expedite the case concerning the Justice Department's fight to stop their proposed merger.

    The federal judge presiding over the case - Ellen Segal Huvelle- rejected a request to schedule Nov. 18 as the trial date for the Justice Department's antitrust case, which aims to block the combination of the two satellite TV providers. Apparently, a trial concerning the matter could be set for sometime in late February or early March, sources said.

    EchoStar spokesman Marc Lumpkin said the company is "pleased" with the trial date. He added, "We intend to continue working to explore remedies that might satisfy Department of Justice concerns."

    If the companies fight the Justice Department lawsuit, they face an uphill battle. It's typical for companies to abandon a merger proposal if the Justice Department fights the combination. And if the companies challenge the decision, they face years of litigation.

    In January, DirecTV parent Hughes and its larger parent, General Motors, have the option to exit the merger proposal. If and when that happens, it's expected EchoStar will fight having to pay a $600 million break-up fee and its purchase of PanAmSat, which is required if the merger collapses.

    Meanwhile, News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch said if the company has another chance to buy DirecTV, the deal would take a year to complete. "We frankly don't know yet if it's going to be offered to us," he said

    From SkyReport (Used with Permission)
     
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