Buffett backs Dish and DirecTV
August 16, 2013
By Chris Forrester
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.