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EchoStar prices billion-dollar offering

EchoStar Communications has priced an offering of $1 billion convertible subordinated notes, with proceeds to finance satellites and strategic investments.

The notes, due in 2008, will bear interest at an annual rate of 5 3/4%. They are convertible into shares of EchoStar class A common stock at a conversion price of $43.29 per share. Net proceeds of the offering are expected to be used for additional satellites, strategic investments and acquisitions.

Pricing of the notes follows news that EchoStar is making a play for DirecTV, attempting to fend off rival News Corp.