DETROIT (AP) _ Hughes Electronics Corp. and EchoStar Communications Corp. terminated their proposed merger of the nation's two biggest satellite television operations, the companies announced Tuesday.
The government had taken steps to block the deal, and the companies said they called it off because it couldn't be completed within the time allowed.
Hughes owns DirecTV, while EchoStar runs the Dish Network. The planned merger would have created a single powerhouse satellite TV service with 18 million subscribers.
As part of the termination settlement, EchoStar has paid Hughes $600 million in cash, and Hughes, a General Motors Corp. subsidiary, will retain its 81 percent ownership position in PanAmSat, a satellite operator.
The merger was delayed after the Department of Justice, 23 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico took action to block it, and the Federal Communications Commission sent the merger application to a hearing.
``We continue to believe that the proposed merger would have been a victory for consumers nationwide, and for our shareholders. We worked hard on it to get the required regulatory approval and are disappointed that we were not able to complete the merger,'' Hughes president and chief executive Jack A. Shaw said in a statement.
EchoStar chairman and chief executive Charles Ergen said the company is disappointed.
GM spokeswoman Toni Simonetti said the merger would have been good for consumers and stockholders.