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EchoStar, Hughes Confirm Talks

June 13, 2001

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DENVER (AP) _ EchoStar Communications Corp. and General Motors Corp. are still in talks about uniting EchoStar and satellite broadcast rival DirecTV, according to a new court filing.

The motion was filed in a federal antitrust lawsuit EchoStar launched in Denver against GM’s Hughes Electronics Corp. subsidiary, which owns DirecTV. Lawyers for Hughes and EchoStar asked this week to delay action on the lawsuit until Aug. 14.

``Recently, representatives of GM and EchoStar have conducted preliminary discussions as to whether a transaction leading to a business combination of EchoStar and DirecTV would be mutually desirable,″ the document said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that UBS Warburg and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. may loan EchoStar $3 billion to support a $5.5 billion to $6 billion bid by EchoStar for Hughes.

Spokeswomen for UBS Warburg and Morgan Stanley declined to comment on the reports.

GM has also been negotiating with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. over Hughes but has said it would consider alternative offers.

Shares of Hughes, which trades as a GM tracking stock, were up $1.05 to $20.95 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, where News Corp. shares were down 20 cents to $37.55. Echostar’s stock was off 31 cents to $27.90 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

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