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Can Charlie Ergen Make EchoStar/Dish a Megatech Company?

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Charlie Ergen, the Denver entrepreneur behind EchoStar, has been on a multibillion-dollar spending spree lately. For a cool $2.1 billion, Ergen purchased broadband data service provider Hughes Communications this week, adding to his various satellite-technology holdings, including Dish Network. Ergen, who ranks No. 51 on Forbes’ list of wealthiest Americans, is also working on other deals, which the New York Post reckons could focus his assets to rival monoliths like Sprint and T-Mobile: “The 57-year-old’s game plan is unclear, but the recent deal-making is prompting speculation that he could be piecing together his own wireless network to sell to the likes of AT&T.” (Matthew Harrigan, an analyst at Wunderlich Securities in Denver, tells the Post he thinks a deal with AT&T specifically is “pretty unlikely.”)

The Denver Business Journal digs into the details of the Hughes purchase, pointing out Ergen’s willingness to take gambles: “If all the deals come together, Dish Network and EchoStar will grow from being satellite video companies to becoming TV and broadband companies that use a combination of satellite and networks on the ground.”

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