Verizon CEO says not interested in Dish, focus on online streaming

NEW YORK Tue May 20, 2014 9:09am EDT

NEW YORK May 20 (Reuters) - Verizon's CEO Lowell McAdam shot down rumors that the company was in potential merger talks with satellite operator Dish Network on Tuesday, days after rival AT&T announced plans to buy no 1. U.S. satellite operator DirecTV.

"I know there are reports out there that we are talking to Dish. I can tell you now, that is someone's fantasy. There were not, and there are not, discussions going on with Dish," McAdam told investors at the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference.

"I don't think owning a satellite company is something I'm interested in at this point," he said adding the company's focus was on over-the-top programming, meaning content utilized over a network, but not offered by a network operator.

On Monday, speculation that Verizon and Dish were in talks to merge pulled shares up at Dish.

AT&T's plans to purchase DirecTV raises questions about Dish's next move. With 14 million subscribers, Dish trails DirecTV and has spent billions for wireless spectrum it has yet to use.

Dish's chief, Charles Ergen, has said he does not have the cash to outbid AT&T for DirecTV. Dish tried to buy DirecTV in 2001 in a deal that was blocked by regulators. (Reporting By Marina Lopes; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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