Liberty Media Corp. Chairman John Malone urged fellow billionaire Charlie Ergen to combine Dish Network Corp. with DirecTV to get the advantages of bigger bulk in the pay-TV business.
“It would be good if DirecTV could combine with Echo or Dish or whatever Charlie calls it now just because scale economics in the media business drives down costs and makes it possible for more investment,” Malone said in an interview at the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Dish, based in Englewood, Colorado, across the street from Liberty Media, retracted its offers to buy Sprint Nextel Corp. and Clearwire Corp. last month, leaving Ergen to contemplate his next move after long saying a DirecTV merger would interest him. Dish split from EchoStar Corp., a satellite-TV equipment manufacturer, in 2008. Ergen is the chairman of both companies.
Malone is the largest individual shareholder in DirecTV, as opposed to institutional funds, with 27.7 million shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Malone was DirecTV’s chairman from 2008 to 2010.
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