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EchoStar Buying Slingbox, Considering Split

EchoStar, operator of Dish Network, will acquire Sling Media, the privately-held maker of the Emmy-winning Slingbox and SlingPlayer software, the companies announced.

The Slingbox, which enables the quick transfer of video content over the Internet, has won converts among the video production professionals as well as consumers.

“As an early investor in Sling Media, EchoStar has been pleased with the progress and commitment the company has made establishing Sling Media and the Slingbox as powerful and beloved digital media brands,” said Charlie Ergen, CEO and co-founder of EchoStar. “This combination paves the way for the development of a host of new innovative products and services for our subscribers, new digital media consumers and strategic partners.”

“We are psyched to make this announcement,” said Blake Krikorian, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Sling Media.

Also, EchoStar said it is considering splitting into two publicly traded companies, a consumer pay-TV business (Dish Network) and a separate wholesale technology and infrastructure company.

“We believe separation of our consumer-based and wholesale businesses could unlock additional value,” said Ergen. “Each company would be able to separately pursue the strategies that best suit its respective long-term interests. The spin-off transaction would also allow employee incentives to be tied to their respective company’s performance, and improve opportunities to effectively develop and finance expansion plans.”

The proposed transaction would be transparent to Dish’s 13.6 million U.S. DBS customers.