EchoStar Communications Corp. said Tuesday that it may split into two publicly traded companies, one to operate the Dish satellite TV service and the other to focus on technology development. The news comes one day after EchoStar said it would acquire Sling Media Inc., a privately held video technology company, for $380 million. EchoStar's CEO Charlie Ergen said in a statement that any split in the company wouldn't affect Dish network's 13.6 million customers.
The technology company to be spun off from EchoStar would include a set-top box design and manufacturing business, businesses that provide satellite service to other companies, and several international assets. Ergen would continue to serve as chairman and CEO of Dish Network and fill the same roles with the spun-off company. The board of directors would have to approve splitting the company and confirm that the spin-off would qualify as tax-free. Financial details and dates for the split have yet to be discussed.