Dish in Talks to Merge With T-Mobile U.S.
Satellite Company Lost 79,000 TV Customers Last Year
John Legere, T-Mobile U.S.'s president and chief executive officer, would take the top role at the combined company, and Dish's Charlie Ergen would be chairman, according to the Journal report.
Mr. Ergen, Dish's largest shareholder, contacted T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom AG in September about acquiring the U.S. unit, people familiar with the talks said at the time. He has said he's looking for acquisitions that will help him put a $50 billion stockpile of airwaves to work, and he previously lost a bid for Sprint Corp.
Bob Toevs, a spokesman for Englewood, Colo.-based Dish, and Tolena Thorburn, a spokeswoman for Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile, didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment outside normal business hours.
Investors are focused on how Mr. Ergen plans to revive growth at Dish, which lost 79,000 pay-TV subscribers last year. He is under pressure to merge or partner with a wireless carrier that would help deliver a mobile-based challenger to the pay-TV industry. Dish added spectrum in an auction last month and also started Sling TV, an online service charging $20 a month.
Dish's shares fell 1.2% Wednesday to $70.81 in New York. The stock is down 2.9% this year, compared with the 2.7 percent gain in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.
~ Bloomberg News ~