New York -- Wall Street analysts didn't share the unmitigated optimism about
the approval chances of a proposed direct-broadcast satellite merger that the
companies' leaders voiced at SkyFORUM here Tuesday.
EchoStar Communications Corp. CEO Charlie Ergen and DirecTV Inc. CEO Eddy
Hartenstein both said chances are good that the Department of Justice will OK
the merger between EchoStar and DirecTV parent Hughes Electronics Corp. once all
of the facts are reviewed.
State attorneys general should also back the merger once they realize how the
number of DMAs delivering local broadcast channels via satellite within their
given states will expand, Hartenstein said.
Of four Wall Street analysts on an afternoon panel, only Bull Path Capital
Management analyst Rob Kaimowitz thought the odds were greatly in favor of the
merger. All four Wall Street analysts, however, said EchoStar is the satellite
stock to own whether or not the merger is approved.
The analysts debated whether SES Americom's proposal to enter the U.S. DBS
market would help the merger's chances.
Ergen later denied an analyst's suggestion that SES was a proxy for EchoStar
to help gain approval of the merger.
Pegasus Communications Corp. CEO Mark Pagon said Wall Street is not likely to
invest in any new satellite venture until there's a clear decision on the