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Sling Media To Be Acquired By EchoStar; Deal Valued At Approximately $380 Million; Spinoff Possible?

imageThis just in … EchoStar is acquiring Sling Media in a cash-and-options transaction valued at approximately $380 million. The deal announced late Monday evening, is subject to the usual closing conditions; it is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

The sale came together quickly, according to a person familiar with the deal. Sling has been raising a third round and the discussions with EchoStar, a second-round investor in the start-up, grew out of that.

For EchoStar and co-founder Charlie Ergen, it’s the latest in a series of technology-oriented moves, including the early investment in Sling and the introduction of portable video players, that extend the value of the DISH Network beyond the home. None of those efforts have helped move the third-largest pay-TV network ahead of its satellite rival DirecTV but they have given EchoStar cutting-edge bragging rights.

For Sling, founded in 2004 by brothers Blake and Jason Krikorian, it’s an earlier exit than might have been expected. Its first product — the Slingbox — quickly became an icon of disruption. The company expanded its mission from hardware in 2006 with the creation of the Sling Entertainment Group and has been working on a variety of software-based services including Clip+Sling. Just this weekend, Sling launched a service streaming out-of-market NFL games for DirecTV (NYSE: DTV). The Krikorians, Sling Entertainment president Jason Hirschhorn and the rest of the team are expected to stay in place.

From the release: Ergen: “This combination paves the way for the development of a host of new innovative products and services for our subscribers, new digital media consumers and strategic partners.