- The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Dish CEO Charlie Ergen and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos have "discussed a partnership to enter the wireless business."
- The two men have grown more friendly over the past year over their shared interest in space and robotics.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Dish CEO Charlie Ergen and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who have grown more friendly over the past year over their shared interest in space and robotics, have "discussed a partnership to enter the wireless business."
While short on specifics, two ideas are mentioned in the article. One involves Amazon helping to finance a network for Dish that could eventually ensure Amazon's stock, "everything from bikes to Amazon's drones" would have web connectivity everywhere. The second included an offer in which Amazon Prime members could pay a little more per month for a connectivity or phone plan through Dish.
Ergen has sought deals with most major telecom companies in the United States, but to no avail, the report said.
On Thursday's "Closing Bell," Larry Haverty, an analyst at Gabelli Funds, said the potential deal makes sense for both sides.
"Consumer economics tells you a couple things," he said. "One, you need to be close to the customer. Amazon has over 50 percent of TV households in Prime so they have plenty of customers to be close to.
"The second thing, in the media telecommunications world the companies that have done the best have embraced mobility," he said. "Here is Amazon following these two rules."
Haverty also said Ergen is negotiating from a position of strength, having bought Spectrum for $21 billion while Gabelli Funds' internal valuation placed Spectrum closer to $45 billion.
"Charlie knows he's sitting on a pot of gold," Haverty said. "Now the question is how much is the price of poker? Charlie Ergen is a world-class poker player. He's very, very clever, and he's playing with his own chips."
The report, however, said no deal is imminent.
Dish Network declined to comment. Amazon has not yet returned requests for comment.