EchoStar Communications Corporation has agreed to acquire Sling Media, Inc., a privately-held digital lifestyle products company. EchoStar, through its DISH Network, is the third largest pay-TV provider in the United States.
The transaction values Sling Media at approximately US$380 million and is payable in cash and EchoStar options. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2007.
Established in 2004, Sling Media has introduced the Slingbox and SlingPlayer software. Sling Media's product line is distributed in over 5,000 retail stores in 11 countries. The combination Slingbox and SlingPlayer allows users to "place shift" TV programmes.
In 2006, Sling Media created the Sling Entertainment Group with the mission of developing entertainment experiences and business models that reach beyond the Slingbox. The group also fosters and manages relationships with content creators and owners. Its first initiative, Clip+Sling, dramatically changes the way consumers socialize around TV by enabling users to clip and share limited segments of their favorite television programming.
"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. "With today's increasingly mobile lifestyle, EchoStar's acquisition of Sling Media will allow us to offer innovative and convenient ways for our customers to enjoy their programming on more displays and locations, including TVs, computers and mobile phones, both inside and outside of the home. 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."