Echostar/MVS buying Satmex
Written by Chris Forrester
Sunday, 28 February 2010 08:11

Echostar, together with its local partner MVS Comunicaciones, is to buy satellite operator Satelites Mexicanos for $267m in cash.

Satmex is Mexico’s leading satellite operator, but also feeds its signals elsewhere in Latin America. Dish Mexico, the Echostar/MVS joint-venture, is another operator but also has to compete with Televisa’s Sky DTH service. The deal will need regulatory approval, but a statement Friday said the parties expect the purchase to close during Q3 this year. Dish Mexico had 530,000 subs as at last July.

“The Satmex acquisition provides us with a footprint over Mexico and South America,” Dean Olmstead, president of EchoStar Satellite Services, said in the statement. The purchase would allow the company “to expand our fixed satellite services throughout the Americas, including the delivery of satellite internet to rural communities.” Satmex owns and operates three satellites and two satellite uplink facilities, and has approximately 200 employees, which are all included as part of the transaction.

Satmex is controlled by a trust representing bondholders who gained equity when the Mexico City-based company emerged from bankruptcy in 2006. The trust held a 78% stake in Satmex at the end of 2008, while the Mexican government had 16%, according to last year’s annual report.

"We are pleased to make this announcement with EchoStar," said Satmex CEO Patricio Northland. "Our companies have common goals in delivering satellite communications services across the Americas, and EchoStar has the dedication and expertise for continued growth."