Dish Network reported that it lost 294,000 more net pay TV subscribers in Q2-2023, and separately announced it will merge back with its sister corporation EchoStar in a move to free up cash flow in the face of stiffer telecom competition.

Dish announced Tuesday that it intends to re-combine with its satellite-technology focused sister company EchoStar Corp., shortly, with EchoStar co-founder Charlie Ergen remaining as executive chairman of the combined entity.

Dish said it finished the second quarter with 8.9 million pay TV subscribers, down 294,000 from the end of Q1 and 1.084 million from a year ago.

The company’s satellite subscribers were down 197,000 from the first quarter and 890,000 from a year ago.

Dish’s live OTT streaming service Sling TV lost 97,000 subscribers in the period, finishing with 2.003 million customers, comparted to 2.197 million subs (down 194,000) a year ago.

Dish’s second-quarter net income was $200 million, compared to $523 million, a year ago, while revenue dropped 7% to $2.91 billion from $4.21 billion.

Regarding the merger with EchoStar Ergen said the move is being made to create a roughly $6 billion company that is better equipped to go up against powerful U.S. telecom giants like AT&T and Verizon.

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Dish originally spun off EchoStar in 2008, looking to expand beyond satellite TV into related businesses including OTT streaming and mobile telecom.

The merger involves an all-stock deal that will combine Dish’s pay-TV business and 5G network with EchoStar’s satellite infrastructure for retail, government and business customers. The move is intended to boost cash flow.

EchoStar stockholders will get 2.85 Dish Network’s Class A shares, with the exchange ratio representing a 12.9% premium to EchoStar’s close on July 5, a day before reports of the deal surfaced.

Ergen is to continue serving as executive chairman of the combined entity and Hamid Akhavan will be EchoStar CEO. The arrangement is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Ergen said the transaction is expected to generate significant cost and revenue synergies, and a strong asset portfolio with greater free cash flow generation capability intended to grow long-term value.

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By Greg Tarr

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