Charles William Ergen was born on 1 March 1953, in Oakridge, Tennessee USA, into an Episcopalian family of Austrian and indeterminate mid-European descent, and is best known as the co-founder and current Chairman of the Board, and former President and CEO of Dish Network and EchoStar Communications Corporation. Of particular interest is that Forbes magazine ranks Ergen as the 43rd richest person in the world in 2015.
So just how rich is Charlie Ergen? Forbes estimates that Charles’ net worth in 2015 is over $20 billion, the majority of it accumulated through his interests in the Dish Network and EchoStar, as he owns 52 per cent of Dish and EchoStar shares and holds 88 percent of its total voting power.
Charlie Ergen Net Worth $20 Billion
Charlie Ergen’s father William was an Austrian immigrant who had left Europe prior to World War II, worked in Sweden as a nuclear physicist, and at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He is credited by some with having coined the phrase “China Syndrome”. His mother Viola (née Siebenthal) was one of the first female accountants in the state of Minnesota. Charles graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in finance from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and an MBA from Wake Forest University. He then became a professional blackjack and poker player, having also qualified as a CPA and worked for Frito-Lay before deciding to go into business for himself.
Charlie Ergen is a relative rarity, in being almost a totally self-made billionaire, if from a rather unusual starting position. Ergen and Jim DeFranco, professional gamblers, were essentially expelled from a Nevada casino for being too good, and was actually the basis for Charlie’s net worth,. They then decided to enter the satellite television business, and in 1980 with $60,000 they founded EchoStar with Charlie’s future wife Cantey, and started by selling satellite dishes door to door. Both Cantey and DeFranco still sit on EchoStar’s board. Ergen’s net worth was on the rise.
In 1990, Charlie Ergen expanded EchoStar considerably by raising $335 million in junk bonds and purchasing orbital slots for satellites. Two years later, EchoStar obtained a direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) license from the Federal Communications Commission, giving the company its own geostationary orbital slot. In 1993, EchoStar Communications was incorporated, and within the year its net income doubled to $20.4 million. Clearly, Ergen’s net worth increased commensurately.
Under Charlie Ergen’s direction, EchoStar and DISH assimilated several companies, after an $8 million deal for 22 channel assignments, firstly purchasing a 40% stake in Direct Broadcast Satellite Corporation (DBSC) in 1994, and the remaining 60% two years later.
EchoStar began its Digital Sky Highway (DISH) service in 1996, competing with stake holders including DirecTV, Primestar and United States Satellite Broadcasting, but were so competitive that the company had 450,000 subscribers by the end of the year, initially relying on price undercutting and promotional offers. In 1998, DISH even added BBC America in its America’s Top 100 CD package.
Charlie Ergen and EchoStar consolidated steadily, and in 2007 acquired Sling Media Inc, a provider of over-the-top video solutions, for $380 million. Then in 2011, DISH and EchoStar completed several acquisitions, including Hughes Communications Inc. for an estimated $1.32 billion, the struggling DBSD North America in a $1 billion deal to enhance its existing wireless spectrum, bankrupt video rental chain Blockbuster LLC in a deal valued at an estimated $228 million, and TerreStar for $1.38 billion to add a mobile wireless spectrum to its portfolio. Identifying the sources of Charlie Ergen’s current net worth is very easy, and why it continues to rise.
In his personal life, Charlie Ergen is married to Cantey (“Candy”) McAdam. They have five children, and live in Littleton, Colorado. Ergen is an avid mountain climber who has scaled Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Aconcagua in Argentina and Mount Everest base camp in Nepal. As a part of his philanthropic activities, Ergen is known for, amongst other donations, giving away free satellite dishes.
|Net Worth||18 billion USD, 18.3 billion USD|
|Date Of Birth||March 1, 1953, March 1, 1953|
|Education||University of Tennessee, Wake Forest University School of Business, University of Tennessee, Wake Forest University School of Business|
|Spouse||Cantey Ergen, Cantey Ergen|
|Parents||William Ergen, Viola Ergen, William Ergen, Viola Ergen|
|Siblings||Dr. Fred Ergen, Dr. Fred Ergen|