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· Founder
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This week marks the six-month anniversary announcing the proposed merger between EchoStar, Hughes and its DirecTV unit, a deal that is still awaiting regulatory approval in Washington, D.C.

The proposed $26 billion combination of the No. 1 and No. 2 satellite TV companies, first announced Oct. 28, is being scrutinized by the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department's antitrust staff. Recently, the FCC asked for comments on the companies' proposal to launch a new satellite supporting delivery of all local TV markets in the United States, contingent on merger approval. That pushed back even further agency action on the deal.

Because of the delay, the FCC's decision is likely to come after any move from the Justice Department, some observers said. Not much is known about the antitrust review at the DOJ, though many consider the merger's chances at the Justice Department to be in a better position than at the FCC.

Outside of government scrutiny, all sides of the merger debate have voiced their opinions on the pending transaction.

Numerous state attorneys general, led by Missouri AG Jay Nixon, have outlined their issues with the merger, and a handful of lawmakers have expressed their concern with a single satellite TV company controlling a multichannel monopoly in rural and underserved areas. However, the merger has endorsements, including more than 1,600 letters of support sent to the FCC by consumers and grassroots organizations. State legislators and some Capitol Hill lawmakers also have thrown their support behind the deal.

EchoStar also won a $1.5 billion investment from French/Hollywood media giant Vivendi Universal.

The final outcome for the proposed DBS combination may be decided no sooner than late Summer or early Fall, some said.

Meanwhile, labor and African-American activists plan to protest Tuesday outside the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, site of the Spring SkyFORUM conference. They will be targeting EchoStar CEO Charlie Ergen, who will speak at the satellite industry gathering.

Members from the Communications Workers of America, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the National Action Network and other groups are expected to be at the demonstration, according to a press release. The demonstration is expected to take place in the afternoon.

From http://www.skyreport.com (Used with permission)
 

· AllStar
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81 Posts
Do not count on the DOJ to approve the merger. It is still no better than 50/50, and the delays do not help the case by giving more time for the reveiw. It is my beliefe that some of E* past sins will come back to haunt them.

My bet, both DOJ and FCC will not approve the merger.
 

· Hall Of Fame
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1,660 Posts
To the contrary, with possible new competitors coming on line with SES, terrestrial DBS and the promise to carry all 210 DMA's of locals, this improves chances that the merger will be approved. I think the DOJ and FCC will decide that a combined DBS capable of carrying all 210 DMA’s of locals will provide a stronger competitor with cable and with some minor conditions will approve the merger.
 
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I'm not sure if any of you happened to see the Senate Judiciary hearing (March 7, 2002) where Charles Ergen and Eddie Hartenstien appeared. The senators had MAJOR problems with rural satellite customers essentially being left with only one company to provide service if the merger were approved...E*.

I can't see this merger being approved without some language to protect rural satellite customers. If it is approved without any protection for rural areas several Attorney Generals have promised to challenge the merger in court. First on the list would be Missouri's AG who was at the hearing and strongly opposed the merger. I have little knowledge of merger and acquisitions but couldn't this merger get tied up in court for months or years??

My DMA is in the top 100 but I'm beginning to wonder if my locals will make it this year...or 2003...or 2004.....
 
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