TerreStar $1.4 billion sale to Dish approved by Court

Reuters

A judge last Thursday approved TerreStar Networks Inc's (Reston Va.) proposed $1.375 billion sale to Dish Network Corp (Meridian, Colo.), pushing the satellite communications company a major step closer to emerging from a 9-month stint in bankruptcy.

TerreStar had more than $1 billion of debt when it sought Chapter 11 protection last October.

The company, which tried to market the first satellite smartphone, had been coveted for its roughly 20 megahertz of spectrum.

Dish had put forth a $1.375 billion minimum bid for TerreStar on June 15. No rival bids were submitted. The deal represents at least the fourth major purchase in 2011 for billionaire Charles Ergen, who controls Dish, and the third for Dish itself.

Ergen's set-top box maker EchoStar Corp bought Hughes Communications Inc for $1.33 billion, while Dish also bought bankrupt the assets of Blockbuster Inc, a $320 million deal that closed in April.

While some analysts have speculated about Ergen's plans for his burgeoning satellite empire, Ergen has not signaled his plans for his newest assets, particularly Blockbuster, a once-dominant video retailer.

TerreStar began pursuing an asset sale in April after a proposed debt-for-equity restructuring deal with EchoStar, its largest secured creditor, fell apart.

The judge’s decision comes only days after Space Systems Inc and AT&T publicly objected to the sale.

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