Big Deal – DISH Network Buys the Assets of TerreStar Networks

On July 7, 2011, DISH Network Corporation, the second largest satellite TV operator in the US, was successful in its all cash bid of US$1.375 billion in the bankruptcy court auction of TerreStar Networks Inc., which offers wireless services over a satellite network.

This cross-border telecom deal has two unique “firsts”:

It’s unique because DISH Network and EchoStar Communications, TerreStar’s largest creditor, advanced 95 per cent of the purchase price for TerreStar Networks … with regulatory approval still pending from the Federal Communications Commission and Industry Canada. (If the approvals don’t come through, an alternative sale plan will be implemented.)

And, it’s unique for being the first deal under the new liberalized rules for foreign ownership of Canadian satellites.  

If it ultimately receives regulatory approval, the deal, along with DISH’s recent purchases of Blockbuster and satellite operator DBSD North America, can only mean one thing … new communications products and services coming soon to a (TV, phone and computer) screen near you.

Among the players:

Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Goodmans are counsel for the Purchasers DISH Network and EchoStar

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld along with Fraser Milner Casgrain are counsel for the Debtor/Seller TerreStar Networks

Bennett Jones is counsel for the Information Officer, Deloitte & Touche

Thank you to Brendan O’Neill at Goodmans for bringing the deal to Lexpert’s attention. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one.

Gena Smith

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