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Echostar Buys SlingMedia For $380 Million

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[qi:032] If 5% of Facebook is worth $500 million, then one can’t be surprised that place shifting pioneer SlingMedia is worth something. The Foster City, Calif.-based Sling has been acquired by EchoStar (DISH), a satellite broadcasting service company for $380 million in cash and stock.

Sling has raised over $60 million in venture funding. John Malone’s Liberty Media Corporation and Echostar Communications were some of the backers of this three-year-old company co-founded by Blake Krikorian, Jason Krikorian and Bhupen Shah.

“As an early investor in Sling Media, EchoStar has been pleased with the progress and commitment the company has made establishing Sling Media and the Slingbox as powerful and beloved digital media brands,” said Charlie Ergen, CEO and co-founder of EchoStar.

I first wrote about the company back in October 2004, and was enthusiastic about their technology that shifted television from home to pretty much anywhere. Since then, the tireless trio took their original idea, turned it into a functioning product and flawlessly executed on their vision.

Sling maintained two offices – one in Silicon Valley and one in Bangalore, India that was responsible for crafting together the chips that provide the Sling magic. Blake would often return my calls sitting in transit somewhere half way around the planet, visiting the labs in Bangalore.

Sling is smart to take the money from Echostar. If history is any indication then building a consumer electronics company in Silicon Valley is a tough task. Sling has established a nice brand, but in order to grow further the company needs deep pockets of a corporate master.

It is fun to see two start-ups, Zimbra and Sling Media get snapped up in space of less than two weeks, bearing out my early (and sometimes unbridled) enthusiasm for them.

Bonus Link: Check out my interview with Blake for The GigaOM Show. Ryan McIntyre, who was an early believer and investor in the company gives his side of the story.

32 Responses to “Echostar Buys SlingMedia For $380 Million”

  1. Hey, i worked with the slingbox a year ago before my startup got bought by tandberg, then Ericcsoon…its a nice tool and very handy indeed…but yeah, i had expected direcTv to buy it rather than Echostar!

  2. Folks who hang out w/TV and HDTV geeks already know how the popularity of Slingbox has been growing. Since they wangled their way into the Big Box stores, it was only a matter of time before they were gobbled up. Latest generations function flawlessly.

    And the GigaOmTV interview was great. Om is ahead of the pack as usual.

  3. I remember reading the reviews for the first generation SlingBox and how awful they were. The newer boxes weren’t that inspiring and I really wondered how many boxes they sold.

    Also, I’ve used in the past with my Windows XP Media Center and that seemed to work just as well, without having to buy hardware and it was free.

  4. Nice sale. Congratulations to the founders and investors.

    Any wagers as to whether the final sale value of TiVo [or its assets] will be over or under that $380 million?

    Current TiVo market cap is ~$600 million.

    I’ll take the under.