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EchoStar ups bid for DirecTV

NEW YORK--EchoStar Communications, looking to buy the DirecTV satellite TV business, is negotiating another $5.5 billion in financing for the deal.

By adding more cash to its previous all-stock offer, EchoStar may be better able to compete with News Corp., its rival in the bidding, The New York Times reported in its online edition on Thursday, citing executives close to the company.

The report said the loan would allow EchoStar to sweeten its bid beyond the $30.4 billion stock offer it already has, or cut the stock component. General Motors has said that at least $5 billion of offers must be in cash, the report noted.

EchoStar secured a commitment from financial adviser UBS Warburg for half of the loan and is near a pact with Deutsche Bank for the rest, the executives said, according to the report.

According to the report, the executives said GM executives have been wary of a deal with EchoStar because it is possible that regulators may try to block the deal on antitrust issues.

News Corp. has been in talks with GM for nearly a year to buy Hughes Electronics, the unit that owns DirecTV, the report noted. According to the report, the executives said that proposal is hard to compare with EchoStar's because News Corp. plans to merge its satellite TV business with that of Hughes.
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