DirecTV and EchoStar talking merger again?

Nature abhors a vacuum, so now that the AMD/ATI deal has gone from rumor to reality, we're in dire need of another potential mega-merger to fill the void. Luckily for us, News Corp. owner and the real "king of all media" Rupert Murdoch recently made some tantalizing comments on the Charlie Rose Show that may indicate DirecTV's renewed interest in merging with Dish Network parent EchoStar. Although he obviously didn't come right out and say that the two companies were involved in talks of any sort, Murdoch did suggest that the television landscape has shifted enough since the last merger attempt in 2002 that "it would be much harder for the government to turn it down" this time around. However, he also cautioned that a deal would be difficult if EchoStar CEO Charlie Ergen -- whose clashes with News Corp. execs reportedly put the kibosh on merger talks all the way back in 1997 -- insisted on running the new entity as one of EchoStar's conditions. Ars Technica sums up the situation nicely by suggesting that although a merger would help both companies in their quest to offer broadband service should they succeed in picking up some spectrum at next month's FCC auction, government regulators would be unlikely to approve such a deal for the same reason as last time: there are still too many consumers out there whose only option is satellite TV, giving a combined DirecTV-Dish entity monopoly status in certain areas of the country. Long story short: there's an excellent chance that Murdoch would love a deal to go down, but chances are it ain't gonna happen.

[Via Ars Technica]