EchoStar Is Dead, Long Live EchoStar!

EchoStar Communications Corporation, the parent company of DISH Network, is changing its name to – DISH Network Corporation. Yes, the parent is taking on the name of the child, to better reflect their core business. EchoStar… I mean DISH Network, will also be spinning off some of its holdings into a new company to initially be known has the EchoStar Holding Company (EHC). EHC will basically pick up the non-DISH Network businesses formerly held by EchoStar.

EHC will have two main business units – set-top boxes (STB) and fixed satellite services (FSS). The STB business makes STBs primarily for DISH Network, of course, but they also sell STBs to other operators around the world. And, once the acquisition is complete, Sling Media will also be part of the STB business. By separating from DISH Network, any conflict of interest is reduced and the EHC should be able to expand their STB business with additional customers.

EchoStar owns or leases capacity on nine satellites, has seven digital broadcast centers, and fiber optic POPs in 150 cities. The FSS business could offer network capacity to 3rd parties, via satellite or terrestrial networks.

There have been on-again, off-again rumors that AT&T is considering acquiring DISH Network. It could make some sense, as AT&T is already partnered with DISH Network and resells the satellite TV service to their customers. AT&T could find some synergies with the U-Verse fiber offering as well. The spin-off would make it easier for AT&T, or any other party, to acquire the now standalone DISH Network satellite TV operation without dealing with the other businesses.

And, in a final step, it is anticipated that, after all of these changes shake out, EHC will also change its name – to EchoStar Communications Corporation.

So, to sum up, EchoStar is divesting itself of the business units that aren’t DISH Network, and changing its name to DISH Network. Then the divested units will change their name to EchoStar. So why not just divest DISH Network as its own company? I’m sure it makes sense, but I’m not a corporate lawyer.

You just have to love these corporate naming shenanigans.

Picked up from GigaOM.

About MegaZone

MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
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  • Legal Grinch

    Ok, so which of the two companies is / will be involved in a lawsuit with TiVo? Both? How does this reorganization affect that lawsuit? Does anyone know how these kinds of things work?

    This kind of reminds me of the networks’ (CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox) Distant Network Channels lawsuit against Echostar that started in 1998. If I remember correctly, at one point last December, after the injunction against transmitting distant networks was upheld, Echostar re-offered the distant network channels to their customers via some deal through another company (NPS or maybe?) I don’t remember if that company was an Echostar spin out or if they were just a different company that also offered distant network access. I do remember that the networks weren’t happy at all. After winning their lawsuit and fighting appeal after appeal for 5+ years, they probably thought they were done when the Dec. 1, 2006 ruling came down. Instead, E* just found a way to retransmit the content using another company. The networks responded with a cease and desist order, calling the “new” service a sham.

    Something about the timing of this E* split and TiVo lawsuit just seems to remind me of that distant networks lawsuit business from last year…

  • MegaZone

    I’m sure the split isn’t related to the lawsuit. It makes sense for them to do this to be able to grow their hardware business, which they’re definitely interested in doing – hence the acquisition of Sling Media. They want to be able to market their hardware, and underlaying technologies, to other companies – but that’s hard when there is a perceived conflict of buying from a competitor. Sling Media, for example, already works with DirecTV on some online offerings. Would DirecTV want to continue working with Sling if they perceived it as paying DISH Network?

    As for the lawsuit – I’m no lawyer, but I’d think it would be both groups. The hardware group for building the infringing hardware, and the DISH group for deploying them to customers. If it were just one group, it’d be the hardware group, but that could still spill over as if the hardware is found to be infringing it could be ordered disabled.