By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen’s attempts to merge with satellite rival DIRECTV have stalled, according to a New York Post article on the satellite executive’s struggle to acquire funds for his company’s wireless business.
The article, written by Josh Kosman and Lydia Moynihan, says Dish is expected to provide 5G wireless service to 70 percent of the nation by month’s end, as required by federal regulations. But industry sources believe Dish will not come up with the funds to finish the project by 2025, also required.
Consequently, Dish is exploring multiple ways to generate new revenue, including selling off some company’s assets and forming new industry partnerships, the Post writes. But a merger with DIRECTV, which could help create new revenue sources, is dead for the moment, the article adds. Talks with Amazon to provide 5G wireless service to Prime members have also gone nowhere, it says.
The newspaper does not say specifically why the DIRECTV-Dish talks have stalled. Ergen has long said the satellite merger is “inevitable,” but he did not address the possibility in his last company earnings call with financial analysts.
If Dish cannot find the additional revenue needed for the 5G project, the company might need to declare bankruptcy, the Post says. Dish’s satellite business is also in peril due to cord cutting which has cost the company millions of customers over the last several years.
“He is trying to sell everything that is non-core and to finance assets that are financeable,” one source told the Post. “The problem is there are only very small things to sell. It’s a drop in the bucket.”
The newspaper writes that although Dish must finish the 5G buildout by 2025, Ergen is lobbying the FCC for an extension. The Post also reported recently that Ergen has sought new investors in the Middle East.
The newspaper says Dish did not respond to a request for comment on its report.
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— Phillip Swann