Wall Street rumours about a potential takeover of the second-biggest US satellite operator have abounded, peaking this week with TheStreet.com saying AT&T was preparing a takeover bid worth as much as $26 billion (E17.5m) and that both companies have been in talks.
The reports sent Echostar's share price, depressed by recent disappointing quarterly results, soaring. The stock closed up 27 per cent. Echostar and DirecTV, the largest US satellite operator, have succeeded in taking millions of customers from cable operators in the past decade by offering high-quality multi-channel video and good customer services. Meanwhile, AT&T and Verizon Communications, the second largest US carrier, are both scrambling to roll out their own television and video services, targeting customers who pay $100 or more a month for their multi-channel TV offerings, internet access and landline phone services.