Saban links to DirecTV board

Exec fills vacancy left by the resignation of Thornton

Haim Saban has been elected to the board of directors of Rupert Murdoch’s DirecTV, satcaster announced in a filing Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Appointment, which is effective immediately, comes nearly one year after Murdoch acquired DirecTV. Saban, who is chairman-CEO of Saban Capital Group, fills the vacancy left by the July resignation of John Thornton.

The previous relationship between the two moguls was immensely lucrative. Saban and News Corp. were partners for five years in cable network Fox Family, which they sold to Walt Disney in 2001 in a deal worth more than $5 billion.

Saban said DirecTV is a “great success story” that has changed the way people watch TV.

He also has a newfound relationship of sorts with DirecTV rival EchoStar. In a first for a major commercial broadcaster in Germany, Saban’s ProSiebenSat 1 Media is launching a German-language satellite channel in the U.S. that will be carried on EchoStar’s Dish Network.

In addition to heading up Saban Capital, Saban is chair of the ProSiebenSat 1 Media’s supervisory board. He also sits on the board of directors of France 1.

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