EchoStar set to pay $2 billion for Hughes Communications

Deal will give EchoStar broadband data services

EchoStar Corp. plans to buy broadband satellite network provider Hughes Communications Inc. in a deal worth around $2 billion, including the assumption of debt, according to media reports today.

Last month, Hughes Communications hired Barclays Capital to advise on a sale of the company.

EchoStar, of Englewood, Colo., is paying $60.70 per share for Hughes Communications. Hughes is one of the world’s largest providers of broadband satellite services, and its systems support high-speed Internet access, videoconferencing and voice-over-IP telephony to government and commercial clients, the reports state.

The deal adds broadband data services to EchoStar, which gets most of its revenue from Dish Network Corp., the second-largest U.S. satellite TV provider, Bloomberg News said.

EchoStar’s satellites, teleports and fiber network are used by commercial, government and military customers for video distribution, IPTV, and data communications.

The deal is expected to close later this year.

EchoStar's offer for Hughes follows a deal earlier this month with its largest customer, Dish Network, to buy DBSD North America, a satellite network operating under bankruptcy, for $1 billion, Reuters reported.

Investment funds affiliated with Apollo Management IV, which owns the majority of the satellite services provider based in Germantown, Md., reportedly have already approved the transaction.

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