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Cutthroat: high stakes & killer moves on the electronic by Stephen Keating

By Stephen Keating

A full of life, fast moving, unauthorized account of energy agents and sky-high bargains, "Cutthroat" is the only e-book you need to learn to appreciate the avid gamers, the strategies, and the long run within the brutal telecommunications marketplace conflict among satellite tv for pc television and cable. In 1997, Rupert Murdoch’s information Corp. joined forces with EchoStar, Charlie Ergen’s upstart corporation, to create a satellite-TV powerhouse—nicknamed Deathstar. The cable knew its profitable monopoly used to be threatened, and with TCI’s John Malone within the leading edge, cable fought again and held off the attack. How this deal lit up the sky earlier than crashing right down to earth exposes the oversized personalities, the high-stakes deal-making, the transferring alliances, and the ruthless politicking that encompass the pursuit of megabucks in telecommunications this day.

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Under Murdoch's direction, the New York Post hyped Republican candidate Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential election, but also endorsed Democratic president Jimmy Carter in that year's New York primary race against Senator Ted Kennedy. S. Import/Export Bank loan for Ansett, an airline Murdoch owned in Australia. Murdoch's murky motives surfaced again in 1994. A News Corp. subsidiary contributed $200,000 to Republican congressional campaigns prior to the 1994 elections. 's Harper-Collins inked a $4 million contract with Newt Gingrich for the House Speaker to write two books.

There was Ralph and Brian Roberts, the father-and-son team who headed Comcast, based in Philadelphia. TCI and Comcast had several profitable investments in common, yet there was a rivalry between Brian Roberts and Malone. There was Daniel Ritchie, the chancellor of the University of Denver and a former chief of Westinghouse Broadcasting. A longtime Magness family friend, Ritchie was a co-executor of the Magness estate, which left $10 million to the university. And there was Tim Robertson, son of televangelist Pat Robertson.

Carl Vogel, EchoStar's vice president, told Wall Street that EchoStar would have one by year-end 1996. A potential partner was Vogel's previous employer, Jones Intercable. , Lockheed Martin Corp. and Paul Allen, the billionaire investor and Microsoft co-founder who owned 4 percent of United States Satellite Broadcasting, a satellite TV service in partnership with DirecTV. None of those deals happened and EchoStar's stock price fell by more than half, to $18, by the end of January 1997. Murdoch rode in like a white knight.

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