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Vivendi Closes On EchoStar Investment

Vivendi Universal S.A. announced last week that it has closed its $1.5 billion investment in EchoStar Communications Corp. The deal, first announced in December, recently received Federal Trade Commission approval.

According to a press release, Vivendi received 5.8 million shares of Echostar Class D perferred stock at $260.40 per share, giving Vivendi a 10 percent stake in the direct-broadcast satellite service provider. EchoStar will use the proceeds to help finance its pending acquisition of Hughes Electronics Corp., parent of DirecTV Inc.

Each Class D share converts into 10 shares of EchoStar Class A common stock, with equivalent voting and economic rights. Vivendi said that once that merger is closed, it would have a less than 5 percent interest in the combined Hughes-EchoStar.

Vivendi chairman Jean-Marie Messier also received a seat on EchoStar's board of directors.