Hatch: Scrutinize EchoStar-DirecTV marriage


Carefully review the proposed $26.8 billion merger of EchoStar Communications
Corp. and Hughes Electronics Corp., Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told the
Department of Justice last week, adding his voice to the growing number of
lawmakers who say they are concerned about the transaction.

'[T]here appears to be a substantial risk that the proffered benefits to
competition may be ephemeral,' Hatch wrote. 'I am concerned that absent an
expedited investigation of and challenge to this proposed merger, competition
and consumers could be seriously harmed.'

Hatch formerly was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has
authority over antitrust mergers. Now he is that panel's ranking member.

EchoStar responded that it also wants the DOJ to examine the merger
expeditiously and rigorously.

'EchoStar has requested meetings with Sen. Hatch, and we hope he and his
staff find time to meet with us so we can explain the numerous benefits of the
merger, such as providing his constituents in the entire state of Utah, as well
as the nation, competitive rates to cable and a faster introduction of
high-speed Internet via satellite,' EchoStar spokesman Marc Lumpkin said.

EchoStar wants to buy Hughes and merge operations with Hughes subsidiary
DirecTV Inc., EchoStar's No. 1 competitor.