Dish Network appears increasingly — and continues to battle speculation from insiders that it could face bankruptcy, On The Money has learned.
The struggling satellite-TV giant is expected to meet its commitment to cover 70% of the US with a 5G wireless network by the end of the month, but sources are growing increasingly skeptical that Dish will have money to finish its buildout.
One source who spoke on the condition of anonymity told On The Money that Dish’s billionaire boss Charlie Ergen is desperate to sell some of the company’s assets.
“He is trying to sell everything that is non-core and to finance assets that are financeable,” one source close to the situation told On The Money. “The problem is there are only very small things to sell. It’s a drop in the bucket.”
While Ergen had previously explored a number of partnership options, none of those appear to be moving forward. T
he merger Dish explored with fellow satellite provider DirecTV has stalled, sources add.
Likewise, customers continue to cut the cord and ditch satellite service and talks with Amazon about providing Prime customers with spectrum appear to be going nowhere, sources said.
As Ergen tries to get enough money to move forward with the 5G buildout, he’s also been spending more time in Washington, DC meeting with regulators in the hopes of getting more time to finish it.
The company’s next deadline isn’t until 2025 and only requires that Dish cover 75% of the US However, it will require billions because it means Dish will have to cover rural and difficult to serve regions.
“We believe the most likely path forward for Dish near term is to negotiate an extension on its 2025 FCC coverage requirement after meeting its June 2023 deadline,” New Street Research policy analyst Blair Levin said in a recent note. “A 1 – 2 year extension would enable Dish to conserve or at least delay 2 to 3 billion of capital spending that would give it more runway to grow its consumer and enterprise subscriber base.”
But whether regulators will grant an extension is unclear.
“The only thing that can’t save him is the thing he can’t buy: time,” one source told On The Money.
Dish did not respond to a request for comment.