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DirecTV, Dish Stocks Soar on Merger Chatter

Report Says Ergen Has Approached White About Deal 3/26/2014 4:30 PM Eastern

Shares of DirecTV and Dish Network soared Wednesday after a report in Bloomberg News citing unnamed sources said Dish chairman Charlie Ergen has approached DirecTV chief Mike White about a possible merger.

According to Bloomberg, Ergen is encouraged by the pending Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, but White is less optimistic that a deal could pass regulatory muster. While Comcast and Time Warner Cable would be the joining of the No. 1 and No.2 cable operators in the country, they do not directly compete with each other. DirecTV, which has 20 million subscribers and Dish, with 14 million customers, each have national services that compete directly.

That didn’t stop investors from buying both stocks. DirecTV shares were up as much as 8% ($5.71 each) to $78.88 per share in early trading Wednesday before closing at $77.34, up 5.7%.

Dish stock rose 8% ($4.58 each) to $63 per share in early trading before settling down to close at $62.09 each, up 6.3% ($3.67).

DirecTV spokesman Darris Gringeri declined to comment. Dish spokesman Bob Toevs also declined comment.

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