Echostar invests in TU Media

Move part of fund-raising exercise by co.

U.S. satcaster Echostar Communications has invested $40 million in TU Media, the Korean consortium that is the world’s most successful operator of satellite-broadcast mobile TV.

Investment was made through Echostar Asia Holdings and came as part of a wider fund-raising exercise by the Korean company.

TU issued new stock at a 40% premium to previous quote and raised a total of $75 million. Local telco giant SK Telecom bought a further $35 million and maintained its position as the largest shareholder, with a 32.7% holding. Echostar will be the second largest shareholder with 9.9%.

TU Media started commercial service in May 2005 using the Satellite Digital Mobile Broadcasting (S-DMB) standard. It passed the 1 million subscriber milestone last year and currently offers 15 video channels and 19 audio channels.

TU Media said the partnership with Echostar, parent of the DISH network, would help accelerate its efforts to make inroads in overseas markets. Korea’s satellite and terrestrial DMB standards have the most subscribers in the world, but other territories, notably Europe, are pushing rival mobile TV systems.

“Linked together, TU Media Corp., SK Telecom, and EchoStar can accelerate the adoption of mobile video,” Steve Schaver, president, EchoStar International, said.

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