Dish To Buy Bankrupt Satellite Firm DBSD For $1 Billion


Dish Network announced plans Monday to acquire DBSD North America, a hybrid satellite and terrestrial communications company formerly known as ICO North America that filed for bankruptcy reorganization, for approximately $1 billion.

DBSD North America, based in Reston, Va., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2009. Dish is a creditor to DBSD and had voted against the reorganization plan.

In December 2010, a federal appeals court ruled against Dish after determining Dish's interest in blocking the bankruptcy proposal wasn't to maximize recovery as a creditor but to further its own strategic interest in DBSD, which is a subsidiary of holding company ICO Global Communications.

The deal is subject to certain adjustments, including interest accruing on DBSD North America's existing debt. In connection with the transaction, Dish is committing to provide a debtor-in-possession credit facility, which remains subject to approval by the bankruptcy court and will consist of a non-revolving, multiple draw term loan in the aggregate principal amount of $87.5 million.

Dish's acquisition of DBSD must meet certain conditions, including approval by the Federal Communications Commission and DBSD North America's emergence from bankruptcy.

DBSD has been developing a hybrid system that combines both satellite and terrestrial communications capabilities capable of supporting wireless voice, data and Internet services throughout the United States.