You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

GM, EchoStar to begin talks

Automaker to continue discussions with News Corp.

After a week of radio silence, Hughes Electronics parent General Motors has contacted EchoStar regarding its merger proposal and “will open up a dialogue with them,” GM spokeswoman Toni Simonetti said over the weekend.

She stressed that the automaker continues discussions with News Corp., which has been laboriously pursuing a Hughes transaction for many months. It’s a painful prospect for Rupert Murdoch’s conglom that this last-ditch offer by EchoStar could hold things up even further, or possibly risk unseating News Corp. altogether. Most industry players and Wall Streeters, however, still expect Murdoch to emerge victorious.

Simonetti declined to characterize GM’s communications with EchoStar or discuss the timing of talks.

An EchoStar spokeswoman said GM contacted the Denver-based satcaster late Friday afternoon. “We did hear from GM We are in direct conversation with them,” she said.

EchoStar, which was rebuffed outright when it first approached Hughes about a merger earlier this year, went public with a new offer last Sunday worth $32 billion in stock at that time. This time EchoStar took its case directly to GM and appears to be having better luck, although serious antitrust issues cloud a potential merger of the nation’s top two satellite broadcast companies. EchoStar has about 6 million subscribers; Hughes’ DirecTV subsid has about 10 million.

Top management at Hughes has been reshuffled, and its chairman stepped down several months ago. Several Hughes execs, such as DirecTV topper Eddy Hartenstein, are said to favor a deal with News Corp. Such a merger would draw DirecTV into Murdoch’s global empire of content and distribution. Murdoch wants to use DirecTV as the centerpiece of a new international satellite unit called Sky Global Networks.

In the tradition of the spin wars that accompany takeover battles, people close to EchoStar have implied that a deal between it and Hughes would be less complex to work out on a number of fronts since EchoStar is a much smaller company than News Corp. and is purely domestic. News Corp. and DirecTV, for instance, both have operations in Latin America.

People close to News Corp. have said talks with Hughes are progressing nicely and insist an EchoStar bid would never get past regulators.

GM would not comment on a lawsuit by a Hughes shareholder that it is favoring News Corp. in the talks and isn’t giving proper consideration to EchoStar’s offer or holding an auction to sell Hughes to the highest bidder.

More TV

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Winners

    Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the Cinema Audio Society’s top prize for sound mixing at Saturday night’s 55th annual CAS Awards. The film is Oscar-nominated for sound mixing this year along with “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born.” In a surprise over heavy-hitters “Incredibles 2” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Wes [...]

  • Marvelous Mrs Maisel Vice

    'Vice,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Winners

    Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice,” starring Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, won two awards at the sixth annual Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Saturday night. The film won for best period and/or character makeup as well as special makeup effects. “Mary Queen of Scots” received the prize for period [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Good Morning America

    Jussie Smollett Angrily Denies Complicity in Attack

    Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett issued a statement Saturday denying that he orchestrated his Jan. 29 assault, and saying he is “angered” and “devastated” by recent developments in the case. Chicago police want to interview Smollett, after learning new evidence from two Nigerian brothers who were released on Friday night. Local media outlets have [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Empire

    Chicago Police Want to Talk to Jussie Smollett as New Evidence Emerges

    Chicago police are seeking to re-interview “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, after new evidence emerged in his alleged assault. Smollett has claimed that two men attacked him at 2 a.m. on Jan. 29, yelled racial and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck. The Chicago Police Department has consistently said [...]

  • Five Takes on Canal Plus, Federation’s

    Just Days Left to Catch Canal Plus’ ‘The Bureau’ on MyFFF

    The most lauded of titles on this year’s MyFrenchFilmFestival, UniFrance’s online showcase featured by over 50 OTT services around the world, may not be a film but a drama series. With four seasons aired, and a milestone in world sales on a French TV show, slow-boiling espionage series ‘Le Bureau des légendes’ (“The Bureau”) is [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content