In the wake of a merger between the two largest US cable provides, rumors are now circulating that Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen recently approached DirecTV CEO Mike White to discuss the possibility of a merger of their own.
Sources with knowledge of the situation told Bloomberg that White is reluctant to move forward with formal talks because he is worried that regulators would shoot it down. Ergen, meanwhile, has been talking up the idea of a merger ever since an attempt to merge the two companies was blocked by regulators in 2002.
During Dish’s third quarter earnings call, Ergen said there is obviously a business case that makes a lot of sense for consolidation in the satellite industry. Whether it ever comes to fruition is another story, he said, but both companies realize that it could make a lot of sense.
White said during an investor meeting last December that he certainly believes the industry has changed substantially and there are a lot of reasons why consolidation in the industry would be pro-consumer. The problem, he highlighted, is that you still have to go sell that in Washington.
DirecTV and Dish are the top two providers of satellite television in the US with the former having around 20 million paying subscribers while the latter has around 14 million customers. Dish also has a portfolio of spectrum that some believe may be valued at more than $25 billion.