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EchoStar circles stake in S. Korea sat

Shareholders include Samsung, Hyundai

SEOUL — EchoStar Communications Corp. is negotiating to take an equity stake of up to 5% in Korea Digital Satellite Broadcasting, scheduled to launch at the end of the year.

Meetings have been held at EchoStar’s headquarters in Littleton, Colo., and at Korea Telecom, the largest shareholder of KDB. Other members of the consortium include South Korea’s three major terrestrial broadcasters and major corporations such as Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Corp.

And EchoStar international president Steve Schaver and legal director Nick Sayeedi attended a shareholders’ kickoff ceremony March 30.

Startup costs are around 300 billion won ($230 million), with investment reaching $1.8 billion over the next four years. Breakeven is said to be 2 million subscribers, which should be reached after the fourth year.

The service will provide 74 video channels, 30 audio, four to 10 pay-per-view and 15 data.

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