El Segundo, Calif.
Revenue: $8.26 billion
Loss: $622 million
Satellite broadcaster Hughes Electronics has undergone a metamorphosis over the past few years, from a staid outpost of automaking giant General Motors to a high-profile acquisition target, hotly pursued by its aggressive smaller competitor EchoStar.
The proposed $26 billion deal is taking major heat from regulators and on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers fret over its effects on competition in the pay TV market. Pact would create a single behemoth dominating satellite television and a formidable rival for the cable industry.
But with the odds of success shrinking by the day, shares of Hughes’ GM-issued tracking stock have slipped from highs around $20 last summer to less than $10 in recent weeks. The increased skepticism has prompted company execs to reassure investors that, if it had to, Hughes would do just fine on its own.
The satcaster boasts nearly 11 million subscribers to its DirecTV network nationwide, making it the biggest direct-broadcast satellite operator in the U.S. Hughes also controls PanAmSat, a satellite communications network that caters to broadcasters and telecom companies.
DirecTV also has managed to report an 11% increase in revenues for its second quarter vs. the same period a year ago. Still, the company admitted that the pace of subscriber growth wasn’t quite as robust as it had hoped. Losses were unchanged at about $150 million, as the company continues to spend on subscriber acquisitions.
Despite investor worries, Hughes chief exec Jack Shaw recently reiterated his expecation that the merger will get the thumbs up from regulators by October, sticking to the partners’ original schedule.