DISH Network’s merger with EchoStar is set to close on Sunday, December 31, according to a report from Seeking Alpha, but sources have said it could close as soon as today or tomorrow. As of the closing date, EchoStar will take control over the combined company.
Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission gave DISH the go-ahead on the merger. The new company will take on EchoStar’s name, but DISH will remain a pay-TV brand. For now, Sling TV — which is owned by DISH — shouldn’t see any changes.
DISH and EchoStar split in 2008 when the former wanted to focus on pay-TV and the latter on satellite and networking. The two companies’ reunion will help DISH’s aspirations of becoming a competitive wireless provider.
In addition, the cash influx from EchoStar will help pay down the telecom company’s mountain of debt that DISH racked up building out its 5G network.
DISH is obligated by the FCC to cover 75% of the country with its 5G network by 2025. In June, the company met the Commission’s benchmark for covering 70% of the U.S..
“This is a strategically and financially compelling combination that is all about growth and building a long-term sustainable business,” Charles Ergen, chairman of both companies, said when the merger was first announced in August. “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.”
Despite a switch up in October that revealed EchoStar would assume the role as parent company instead of DISH, Ergen will continue to serve as executive chairman. EchoStar CEO Hamid Akhavan will take over as leader once the company combines.