EchoStar to buy Telesat?

Denver-based satellite operator EchoStar is one of the final bidders in the race to acquire Canada-based Telesat, which operates the Anik and Nimiq satellites. Charlie Ergen’s EchoStar Corporation spun off its Dish Network division in December 2007. EchoStar already supplies its set-top boxes to pay-TV broadcaster Bell TV in Canada. A decision could be announced within days.

However, EchoStar is not alone in the final bidding. Venture capital outfit Carlyle Group is also a player, say reports, although a consortium of Blackstone Group and KKR has evidently pulled out after bidding around $5 billion.

Telesat is owned by New York-based Loral Space & Communications and Canada’s giant Public Sector Pension Investment Board, and is reportedly seeking at least $6 billion for its orbiting assets.

Europe’s SES and Eutelsat have already ruled themselves out of the bidding.

Telesat is the world’s fourth-largest satellite operator and owns 12 craft, with three others under construction.

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