An AT&T deal for Dish spectrum may require the telco to buy company, too

There's new speculation that AT&T (NYSE: T) is eyeing Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) as a takeover target, this time fueled by the telco's about face on whether the FCC should waive restrictions on the sale or transfer of the satellite TV provider's spectrum--spectrum AT&T sorely needs.

Credit Suisse analyst Stefan Anninger, in a note to clients, said AT&T's new attitude-- the telco had submitted comments in November to the FCC backing a transfer of spectrum "through rulemaking, rather than an ad hoc waiver process"--showed again just how much it needed more spectrum. Dish acquired its extra spectrum when it bought DBSD North America and TerreStar Networks out of bankruptcy. The spectrum could be worth more than $8.6 billion.

Another Credit Suisse analyst, Jonathan Chaplin, said that while AT&T may be interested in just the satellite TV company's spectrum, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergon may only be willing to sell if the telco takes the satellite TV business as part of the deal, a business the telco likely would look to sell.

A Dish/AT&T merger has been taked about for years. The latest speculation began when AT&T's dropped its $39 billion bid for T-Mobile USA.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this FierceWireless story

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