DISH Network is expected to close its merger with sister company EchoStar as soon as tomorrow, the company said in a Tuesday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
DISH, the parent company of Sling TV, and Echostar said in August that they intended to merge, and last week got the green light from the Federal Communications Commission. The combined company will take on the Echostar name, while DISH Network will remain a brand for its pay-TV service.
This move brings the two companies back together after splitting in 2008 so DISH could focus on pay TV and Echostar could concentrate on its satellite and networking businesses. The merger will help DISH, which has aspirations to become a major wireless player able to compete with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. DISH, ladened with debt, needs additional cash flow from Echostar to fund the build out of its wireless network, and is required to offer service to 75% of Americans by 2025.
According to the filing, DISH said, “the Merger closing date, which is expected to occur as early as the week of December 11, 2023 and as late as December 29, 2023, and could extend up to two to five business days following the Merger closing date. You will be notified of the specific dates of, and any changes to, the blackout period as soon as practical.”
The note was sent to officers and directors of the company who own shares in the company, warning them of a blackout preventing them from selling shares during and after the transaction.
Back in August, Charles Ergen, who founded the companies and serves as chairman of both, said the deal was necessary for the businesses to continue to thrive.
“This is a strategically and financially compelling combination that is all about growth and building a long-term sustainable business,” Ergen said. “DISH’s substantial past investments in spectrum and its wireless buildout, combined with EchoStar’s recent launch of JUPITER 3, are expected to significantly reduce near-term CAPEX requirements. The transaction is expected to generate significant cost and revenue synergies, and the strong asset portfolio of the combined company paired with its enhanced free cash flow generation capability and strengthened capital structure are expected to drive long-term value creation for our shareholders and other stakeholders.”
Echostar CEO Hamid Akhavan will take over as the head of the combined company.
“From unconnected individuals in the most rural and remote regions of the world to the constantly evolving networks of private enterprises and government institutions, the connectivity landscape is rapidly changing,” Akhavan said in August. “As a combined company, we will offer a broad suite of robust connectivity services, using a superior portfolio of technology, spectrum, engineering, manufacturing and network management expertise. DISH shares our customer-first culture, and together we will be well positioned to further scale and accelerate our strategy.”
For consumers, this deal will likely mean little for now. In the long run, it could help DISH become the wireless phone competitor to take on the big three that currently dominate wireless service.