Buffett backs Dish and DirecTV
Renowned billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway company is taking share positions in both the USA’s giant DTH operators. He already owns a seven per cent stake in DirecTV, worth more than $2 billion.
But he also owns a far more modest stake in Charlie Ergen’s Dish Network, of just 550,000 shares and worth $24 million. However, the gossip is that he could be just the person to start banging heads together and getting Ergen, and DirecTV CEO Mike White around a table to talk merger.
Within the past month both Ergen and White have agreed with the merits of a merger, although not much seems to have happened since.
Their anxieties might well be focussed on word from the powerful Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and US anti-trust monopoly rules. In the past the FCC has ruled against such a merger, but the 2013 picture is that there’s a much greater degree of competition in the marketplace from telcos, cellular, and Netflix, YouTube/Google, and iTunes-type services. But a merger between Dish and DirecTV is by no means a shoo-in.