Digest: Liberty bulks up; EchoStar freeze

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Liberty bulks up

John Malone's Liberty Media has acquired a controlling stake in Bodybuilding.com, a sports nutrition e-tailer that also claims it is the world's most-visited bodybuilding and fitness site. The companies didn't disclose financial terms of the acquisition. Liberty's stake will be held by its Liberty Interactive group. Founded in 1999, Bodybuilding.com had more than 100,000 daily and 3.1 million monthly unique visitors in November.

EchoStar freeze


Amid suggestions that some of its customers might be feeling the squeeze from a sluggish economy, EchoStar Communications said Monday that it will freeze prices for its most popular program packages until 2009. The Dish Network owner said it also is offering three months of free programming to new customers and will waive activation fees amid increased competition in the multichannel TV market. Analysts have argued that EchoStar has seen slower subscriber momentum than competitor DirecTV because the former traditionally also caters to lower-income households. EchoStar shares closed down 4.5% at $31.98.

Vivendi addition

Vivendi has hired Regis Turrini as senior executive vp strategy and development. The company said Monday that Turrini will take over the position from Robert de Metz, who is leaving Vivendi but will remain a director of the group's pay TV unit, Canal Plus France. Turrini joined Vivendi in 2003 as executive vp mergers and acquisitions.
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