Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

# 113 Charlie Ergen $12.4B

Random fact: Keeps bottles of feng shui water in his office for good luck.

Overview

Ergen is chairman of Dish Network, the fourth-largest pay-TV service in the U.S. The publicly traded company has about 12 million paid subscribers and runs Blockbuster's @Home streaming service. He controls EchoStar, a satellite equipment manufacturer servicing space flight operations and government satellites.

As of :
Last change -$75.5M ( -0.6%)
YTD change +$3.33B ( +36.8%)
Industry Media & Telecom
Biggest asset DISH US Equity
Citizenship United States
Age 66
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Charlie Ergen's net worth of $12.4B can buy ...

0
troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

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of the GDP of the United States
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of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
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of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
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of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
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of U.S. existing home sales
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times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Ergen's fortune derives from his stakes in two publicly traded companies, satellite equipment maker EchoStar and Dish Network, the fourth-biggest satellite broadcaster in the U.S. based on March 2019 subscriber numbers.

He owns a little more than half of each business through his holdings of class A and class B shares and controls the shares directly, in his wife's name and through grantor annuity trusts. All the shares are attributed to him as founder and controlling shareholder. Information about the stakes is derived from August and September 2019 filings to the Securities & Exchange Commission and reflect an EchoStar spin-off into DISH on Sept. 10, 2019.

Since EchoStar's public offering in 1995, Ergen has collected more than $1 billion in dividend income and stock sales, based on an analysis of Bloomberg data. The value of his cash investments is based on these proceeds and the impact of taxes and market performance.

Biography

Birthdate: 3/1/1953
Family: Married, 5 children
Education: Babcock Graduate School of Management, University of Tennessee

Born in Tennessee, Charles Ergen attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville before getting a master's degree at Wake Forest University. He took a job as an analyst with Frito-Lay after school and left to play poker full time on the professional circuit. Inspired by the proliferation of C-band satellite dishes, Ergen began driving around rural Colorado with pal Jim DeFranco selling the disc-shaped receivers out of the back of a truck. For customers in remote locations, the partners waived the installation fees in exchange for a free night's stay.

The company -- then named EchoSphere -- filed an application with the FCC for a direct-broadcast satellite license in 1987. To raise the capital it needed to build and put a satellite in space, the company sold shares in a public offering in 1995, under the name EchoStar. It began broadcasting to customers the following year.

The company was renamed Dish Network in 2007. Today it beams programming to more than 14 million subscribers from 13 different satellites. Among its latest endeavors: transforming Blockbuster into a Netflix-like video streaming service and providing voice, video and web services for mobile devices.

Milestones
  • 1953 Born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
  • 1976 Takes a job working as a financial analyst at Frito-Lay.
  • 1980 With partners, begins selling C-band satellite dishes in Colorado.
  • 1995 EchoStar sells shares in an initial public offering.
  • 1995 Launches first satellite into space from a Chinese rocket.
  • 2007 Acquires Sling Media for $380 million.
  • 2011 Buys Blockbuster out of bankruptcy for $320 million.
  • 2017 Steps down as CEO of DISH Network.