DISH Network suffered a 14-percent drop in shares this morning, after marketing partner AT&T decided it would end their contract next year in favor of rival satellite television provider DirecTV. On January 3, AT&T will start a multi-year agreement with DirecTV.
This follows another huge setback that Dish suffered in March of ’08 when the DISH satellite AMC-14 failed to reach orbit. The satellite was launched to expand Dish Network’s high-definition channels, which at the time were half as many as DirecTV.
Per Reuters, analyst Craig Moffett at Sanford Bernstein said “AT&T’s decision means that around 400,000 subscribers who otherwise would have opted for DISH as part of the bundled service will end up with DirecTV instead.”
Moffet added, “The announcement also likely puts to rest any remaining prospect of an acquisition by AT&T,” said Moffett in a note to clients.
A merger between the two satellite television companies is also apparently off the table.
Since Verizon currently markets DirecTV, who will DISH go to for partnership when their deal with AT&T ends? We’ll have to look for a response from DISH, who in another three months will be flying solo.