I sent this to a friend of mine so I didn't bother with the links but everything here is accurate:
I'm not sure how this will affect the racing world but a couple of developments in the past few weeks are worth watching; I've mentioned before that I have a SlingBox, a $200 device that allows you to watch your home TV over a remote internet connection. One of the coolest things I've ever done was to watch my beloved Seattle Seahawks over a wireless connection from a hotel lobby in the Canary Islands. Half a world away it was Sunday morning and Seattle was beating the Chargers while all around me were getting ready to celebrate New Year's Eve. Sling Media has sold 500,000 of these things which is a fair number but that leaves a lot of the market wide open. That is going to change.
1. On Sept, 24 this announcement was made:
<< Updated: Sling Media, the early leaders in place-shifting technology have scored a touchdown - they are working with DirecTV on a new offering called SuperCast.
As part of this deal, viewers can get online streams of NFL games every Sunday. The deal has been rumored for a while, but it has been confirmed by a company spokesperson. I couldn’t get the details last night since it was very late, but we spoke to the company and here is the lowdown.
First of all you don’t need a Sling Player to get this video package and you don’t need the Sling software. The video steams are accessed with the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser. If you are a DirecTV/NFL Sunday (HD) package customer, then you get access to the games the web for free as part of your package.
Sling Media is providing a hosted service to DirecTV and is managing the web-operation, including authentication and also decides which streams are available to you based on where you live. The videos are being streamed off DirecTV’s servers, not Sling’s servers. Sling also built the browser-based front end for DirecTV. The service only works with IE browser, which is kinda lame. This is a new business foray for Sling, which till now has been purely a hardware vendor.
The company is looking to expand this business. John Malone, who now owns DirecTV is also an investor in Sling, as is Charlie Ergen, the maverick behind Echostar (DISH), and have been the biggest supporters of Sling. National Hockey League has also partnered with Sling for its clip-and-sling service. >>
2. Less than a week later, Sling was sold to EchoStar/Dish Network for $380 million:
<<EchoStar Communications said late Monday that it struck a deal to acquire Sling Media for cash and stock options worth $380 million combined.
The agreement gives EchoStar control of a new media firm that has built a business in selling Slingbox set-tops, which allow cable and satellite subscribers to remotely access programming from their homes via high-speed Internet connections.
“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,” EchoStar CEO Charlie Ergen said in the announcement. “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.”
EchoStar was already an investor in Sling Media, joining a $46.6 million round of financing in January 2006 which also included Goldman, Sachs & Co., Liberty Media, Allen & Co., Doll Capital Management, Mobius Venture Capital and The Hearst Corp.
With EchoStar and rivals such as DirecTV, Comcast and Time Warner Cable offering consumers similar programming packages, the Sling Media acquisition could help Dish Network differentiate its product from its competitors.
Sling Media sells Slingbox models at prices ranging from $120 to $250. The Slingbox and SlingPlayer software are available in 5,000 retail stores in 11 countries, according to the company.
EchoStar and Sling Media said they expect the deal to close during the fourth quarter.>>
3. Dish then announced that they are considering splitting the company into 2 halves:
<<Satellite television provider EchoStar Communications Corp. said Tuesday it is considering separating into two publicly traded companies.
The proposal would involve EchoStar's technology and infrastructure assets - including its set-top box design and manufacturing business and international operations - being spun off from the DISH Network U.S. consumer pay-TV business. Current shareholders would have separate ownership interests in each company.
EchoStar Chairman and Chief Executive Charlie Ergen would remain as chairman and CEO of DISH Network, while filling the same roles at the new business.
The spin-off is subject to final approval by EchoStar's board, regulatory and other necessary approvals, effectiveness of a securities registration statement and confirmation the spinoff will qualify as a tax-free transaction for EchoStar and its shareholders.
The final terms and timing of the transaction have not yet been determined. >>
4. Now come rumors that A T & T is looking to buy Dish:
<< The cosmos is rapidly aligning for EchoStar Communications.
On Thursday, an Oppenheimer analyst upgraded the satellite teleivison company to "buy" and said it was ripe for an AT&T (nyse: T - news - people ) takeover. The vote of confidence rallied investors, as shares of EchoStar rose 6.2%, or $2.71, to $46.18 in early afternoon trading.
EchoStar is undergoing a swift metamorphosis.
In a two-step move, the company announced on Monday it will purchase the remainder of Sling Media for $380 million. The video technology company makes the Slingbox, a proprietary product that streams television into computers through Internet access.
Then, on Tuesday, EchoStar also said it was also considering a split into two distinct public companies. The Englewood, Colo.-company may isolate its Dish Network service--the company's primary profit generator--and spin off the rest of its assets as a separate company. This second bundle of technology assets would likely include Sling Media, the set-top-box business, corporate satellite services and international operations. (See: "EchoStar Soars." )
According to many Wall Street watchdogs, including Oppenheimer analyst Thomas Eagan, the division could unlock $1 to $2 per share for shareholders. However, this move could be a mere stepping stone towards an eventual sale, Eagen said.
Unlike EchoStar's Dish Network service, AT&T's internet television service, U-Verse has failed to gain considerable traction with consumers. Eagan said the U-Verse rollout has been grossly over-budget and behind schedule.
"Given the lack of success of AT&T's U-Verse rollout, it seems to us a matter of when, NOT if, AT&T acquires EchoStar," said Eagan. According to Eagan, the telecommunications giant would be willing to shell out a hefty premium for the company. He predicts that AT&T will pay shareholders more than $56 a share.
"Although Mr.Ergen (the company's Chief Executive Officer) could run and control DISH for the next 20 years, we don't believe that's his strategy. Rather, as the consummate poker player, he is more likely to sell at the opportune time," Eagen said. >>
What does all this mean? I'm not sure.......The NFL already has a deal with DirecTV so I'm not sure how this new NFL deal with Sling/Dish would work. And one assumes that Dish has bought Sling to incorporate their technology into their sat receivers so what happens to their standalone business? A T & T? Well.....if Sling was worth $380 million, what's Dish worth with a subscriber base approaching 10 million? And how does Dish fit A T & T's business plan alongside their cable operator, Comcast?
And how does all this fit into a wireless/cellular/internet world?