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Digest: AT&T talk; Gannett lags

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AT&T talk fuels EchoStar

EchoStar Communications shares rose 19.2% on Monday on expectations that AT&T could close a deal to buy the operator of the Dish satellite television network as early as this week. Chatter about such a deal has hit Wall Street repeatedly in recent months, but investors Monday seemed to believe an announcement was imminent. Both companies declined comment. Financial news site theStreet.com reported that AT&T is in discussions to pay about $29.5 billion for EchoStar, the smaller rival of DirecTV Group. The report, citing a source familiar with the matter, said that AT&T had decided to make a deal, and that EchoStar CEO Charles Ergen was ready to proceed. EchoStar shares closed at $47.49.

Gannett's Q4 lagging

Gannett said Monday that its fourth-quarter TV revenue would lag results from last year in the high-teen percentages, sending its shares down. The USA Today publisher said the expectation is based on October results and early commitments for advertising booked in November and December. Gannett noted that the year-ago quarter was boosted by nearly $58 million in political advertising. Gannett said its revenue for the period from Oct. 1-Nov. 4 fell 6.8% from a year ago to $710.4 million, fueled by a nearly 24% decline in broadcast revenue.

Knology buys Graceba for $75 mil

Knology, a cable TV, Internet and telephone services provider, said Monday that it is acquiring Graceba Total Communications for $75 million in cash. Alabama-based Graceba has about 25,000 connections, while Georgia-based Knology has 627,000 subscribers. Shares of Knology fell 4.7% to $12.99.