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Dish completes merger with Echostar, Hamid Akhavan named CEO

The combined company will see Echostar's satellite division paired with Dish and Sling TV's pay television products.

The combined company will see Echostar's satellite division paired with Dish and Sling TV's pay television products.

A Dish Network satellite dish.
A Dish Network satellite dish. (Photo by Cody Logan via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

Dish Network and Echostar Communications have completed their merger, bringing together the two satellite companies founded by Charlie Ergen for the first time since 2008.

The transaction, structured as an all-stock deal, was first proposed last August and was finalized on Tuesday. As part of the deal, Echostar CEO Hamid Akhavan will join the newly-merged company as its president and CEO, while Ergen will remain executive chairman. Erik Carlson, the former head of Dish Network, is expected to depart the company, while Dish Wireless Chief Operating Officer John Swieringa will reprise that role at Echostar.

“The completion of this merger marks an important milestone for our company and our customers, launching a new era of connectivity,” Ergen said in a statement. “We have brought together two trailblazing companies with complementary portfolios to create a global connectivity leader with premier wireless, satellite, and video distribution capabilities. Together, Echostar and Dish offer an enhanced consumer connectivity business and an unmatched enterprise managed services business. In a world that is increasingly wireless, we are well-positioned to drive revenue and profitable growth”

Dish has been under pressure from investors to look for additional revenue streams as it works to keep its pay television products afloat in the era of streaming, while subsequently building out a fourth major wireless provider to compete against AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.

While Dish Wireless has, technically, met various deadlines imposed by the Federal Communications Commission for its build-out — it claims to reach tens of millions of Americans across the country — its customer base still pales in comparison to the other three major wireless providers, in part because, at launch, Dish Wireless and its consumer brand, Project Genesis, worked with a few Android phones.

Dish has also experienced a slowdown in its pay television businesses as consumers gravitate toward cheaper, online-only options. Its streaming cable replacement service, Sling TV, has been unable to add enough subscribers to fully offset losses at Dish, which has experienced numerous programming-related disruptions and consumer fee increases over the past few years.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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