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New Risks Growing for DISH?
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New Risks Growing for DISH? - 04-June-2008, 11:40

As the financial community keeps an eye on satellite TV stocks, some are wondering not only what's next for DISH Network but also what's going on with the company's stock.

DIRECTV may have wowed Wall Street with strong customer additions and financial numbers for the first quarter. And DISH may have disappointed some with lackluster subscriber enrollments for the three-month period. But the DISH stock has climbed by about 11 percent during the past two weeks, even modestly outperforming DIRECTV shares.

Nonetheless, the risks are mounting for DISH, said Craig Moffett of Bernstein Research in a note released Tuesday. And some of that can be blamed on the DBS giant's legal actions involving TiVo.

A lot of attention has been given to DISH's ongoing litigation with TiVo, and the analyst said the stakes in the case "appear to be rising rapidly." Moffett added that if DISH loses a round of litigation related to its so-called "work around" of TiVo's patents for its DVR technology, "then the costs to DISH of disabling DVRs, settling with TiVo, or - worst of all - potentially engaging in a bidding war for the right to continue offering DVRs at all, could be a worst case scenario in the billions."

Moffett also suggested that DISH could net only 19,000 customers in the second quarter, down from a previous estimate of 148,000 net additions for the three-month period.

Because of all that, Moffett said his firm is shifting its preference back to DIRECTV. He rated both DISH and DIRECTV shares with a "market perform" rating.
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