El Segundo, Calif. -- Hughes Electronics Corp. said last
Thursday that it has closed its deal to acquire U.S. Satellite Broadcasting following a
USSB shareholders' vote earlier that day.
Hughes will merge USSB into its DirecTV Inc.
direct-broadcast satellite operations.
"It's certainly a sad day, but also an exciting
day," USSB president Stanley E. Hubbard said. "We're so proud of everybody
here who's worked so hard to make this a smooth transition."
USSB's service, which launched along with DirecTV in
June 1994, offers premium services from Home Box Office and Showtime Networks Inc., among
others, as well as pay-per-view events.
DirecTV plans to announce new programming packages and
prices incorporating USSB's premium-movie services early this week.
In addition to acquiring USSB's subscriber base and
several DBS transponders at the 101 degrees west orbital slot, DirecTV also gains three
DBS frequencies at 110 degrees west. DirecTV plans to offer a Spanish-language programming
package from 110 later this year.
DirecTV plans to relocate its DBS 1 satellite from 101
degrees to 110 after it launches a DirecTV 1-R replacement satellite at 101 this summer.