Ergen steps up Star war with Murdoch

Denver, CO-based EchoStar Communications, which operates the DISH home satellite service, is making a $32-billion pitch to General Motors’ board of directors for its Hughes Electronics company, operator of its bigger rival, DirecTV. The offer comes after EchoStar was unable to receive a sympathetic hearing from GM’s management. In a memo to the board on Friday, EchoStar CEO Charles Ergen cited “the enormous benefits of our proposed combination.” GM execs reportedly are persuaded that a merger of the DISH and DirecTV services, virtually the only two remaining home satellite services, would not pass regulatory muster. In Sydney Monday, shares in News Corp, regarded as the leading contender to acquire Hughes, slumped 3.7 percent on the Australian Stock Exchange as investors attempted to assess the significance of the EchoStar move.