DirecTV, Dish Network Shares Advance 6 Percent on Merger Speculation

Charlie Ergen
Charlie Ergen
 AP Images

Shares of both DirecTV and Dish Network rose on speculation that the two could merge, spurred this time by a Bloomberg report indicating that top representatives at both companies recently spoke to each other about the possibility. 

Dish chairman Charlie Ergen in February initiated merger discussions with DirecTV CEO Mike White in response to Comcast's announcement that it had agreed to acquire Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing several people with knowledge of the situation.

While it's certainly not the first time the notion of a merger between the two satellite TV giants has been floated, the report of actual discussions between top-ranking representatives of each firm had shares of both rising 6 percent on Wednesday. DirecTV stock advanced $4.17 to $77.34 and Dish was up $3.67 to $62.09.

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"It's not hard to see why the two would be interested in a deal," MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett wrote on Wednesday. "We've written for years that the synergies would be staggeringly large; worth more, perhaps, than the total equity capitalization of Dish Network on a standalone basis. And if Comcast can buy Time Warner Cable, a big-media deal similar in size to a combination of DirecTV and dish Network, then, well … why not?"

Moffett, though, answers his own question by writing that the odds of a Dish-DirecTV merging are "relatively low" because of regulatory concerns. While a Comcast-Time Warner Cable marriage doesn't reduce the number of competitors in any given market, a Dish-DirecTV combination would reduce the number of pay TV competitors in all U.S. markets, Moffett concludes.

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