Liberty Global’s John Malone, speaking at the Allen & Co high profile gabfest at Sun Valley, says that DirecTV and Dish Network should merge.
“It would be good, by the way, if DirecTV could combine with Echo or Dish or whatever Charlie calls it now just because scale economics in the media business drives down cost and makes it possible for larger investment,” he told reporters.
Malone is attending the media world’s discussion sessions with Rupert Murdoch, Barry Diller, Brian Grazer and Brian Roberts. He added: “To me, in order to improve the services for the consumer, you need larger – not saying monopoly players – but you need larger players.”
Malone, as ever, has a vested interest in a positive move for investors. He is still the largest individual shareholder in DirecTV with 27,7 million shares, or about 5 per cent of the DHG company. Moreover, he knows DirecTV from the inside. He was DirecTV’s chairman from 2008 until 2010 when Liberty held a 38.5 per cent stake in the business. Liberty then spun off DirecTV but he held onto his stake.
His comments are the latest in a long line of advice suggesting that a merger of the two rival DTH layers makes sound commercial sense and could generate huge synergies. The market seems to agree. DirecTV shares have gained 24 per cent this year, and jumped 2.3 per cent on July 11th.