Echostar and Dish Network founder Charlie Ergen has “donated” nine million shares he owned in Echostar to a family trust. Each share is currently valued at some $36 so the donation is worth about $324 million today.
The transfer, according to a Securities & Exchange Commission filing made earlier in December, is for “estate planning purposes”. Members of Ergen’s family are the beneficiaries of the Trust.
The decision doesn’t seriously impact Ergen’s control over the business. He still retains a 39.1 percent stake in the company, valued at just over $1 billion.
It is also worth remembering that this amount does not include his stake in the much more valuable Dish Network pay-TV operation, which Forbes magazine says is worth another $16 billion. Forbes says Ergen is Number 28 in its Top 400 richest people on the planet.