money digest


Auction bad for EchoStar

Shares of EchoStar Communications fell 4.8% on Tuesday to $40.31 ahead of an FCC spectrum auction that an analyst said would hurt the satellite TV operator if it wins the bid. "It would be a near-term cash drain with uncertain return on that investment," Pacific Crest Securities analyst Steve Clement told the Associated Press, noting that the industry expects the final bid to fall somewhere between $10 billion to $15 billion. The FCC plans to auction the 700 MHz bandwidth — currently used for UHF broadcast television — in late January. The deadline to file for the auction was Monday. Clement also said EchoStar and AT&T's participation in the auction might signal to investors that AT&T's rumored buyout of EchoStar might not happen.

Clear Channel date extended

Clear Channel Communications said Tuesday that it expects the closing of its buyout to be extended into the first quarter as it awaits federal approval of the $18.7 billion deal. The termination date for the purchase of Clear Channel by private-equity firms Bain Capital Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners will be extended to June 12, the company said. The termination date, or the date on which either party might terminate the merger agreement, is set for Dec. 12. Clear Channel said it will exercise its right to extend the termination date to provide more time for necessary regulatory conditions to be satisfied. Clear Channel shares slipped slightly to $35.18 on Tuesday, whereas the proposed buyout values shares at $39.20 each.