Goldman-backed tech company sold for $380m

DISH Network operator EchoStar has paid $380 million to acquire Sling Media from its venture capital backers including Goldman Sachs, Allen & Company, DCM and Mobius Venture Capital.

Sling Media's venture capital backers have sold their stakes in the company to satellite TV company EchoStar for $380 million (€269 million). Sling Media, which makes a device that allows users to play television shows on computers and cell phones, had previously raised a total of $56.6 million in Series A and Series B fundraising from Goldman Sachs, Allen & Company, DCM and Mobius Venture Capital, along with strategic investors Hearst Media Corporation and Liberty Media.

EchoStar, a satellite TV company that owns DISH Network, first invested in Sling Media during its $46.6 million Series B round of fundraising in 2006. Sling Media was courting investors for its Series C fundraising when EchoStar made its buyout offer.

“After a long series of conversations, it became clear to [Sling's management] that becoming part of EchoStar would afford Sling resources, distribution and market muscle throughout the media landscape that they simply wouldn’t have as an independent entity and allow them to reach (and extend) their vision for Sling Media even more quickly,” Mobius partner Ryan McIntyre said on his personal blog.

DCM, formerly Doll Capital Management, was Sling's largest venture shareholder. It participated in Sling Media's Series B round of fundraising as well as its Series A round, the latter of which raised $10.5 million in November 2004. DCM's Series A investment will yield a 10x return, the firm said in a statement. DCM called the deal “one of the most successful post-bubble exits among consumer-device plays in digital media”.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Shortly after announcing the Sling Media deal, EchoStar said it might split into two publicly traded companies: one focussing on its Dish satellite television services and the other composed of its technology and infrastructure assets.