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In 1998 EchoStar purchased the broadcasting assets of a satellite broadcasting joint venture of News Corporation and MCI Worldcom, called ASkyB (for American Sky Broadcasting, named after News Corp's BSkyB service in Britain); the two companies had nearly merged (which called for DISH Network being renamed Sky) before it was called off due to Charlie Ergen's clashes with News Corp. executives. With this purchase EchoStar obtained 28 of the 32 transponder licenses in the 110° West orbital slot, more than doubling existing continental United States broadcasting capacity at a value of $682. 5 million; some of the other assets were picked up by rival PrimeStar, which was sold to DirecTV in 1999. The acquisition (which also included an uplink center in Gilbert, Arizona) inspired the company to introduce a multi satellite system called DISH 500, theoretically capable of receiving more than 500 channels on one DISH. In the same year, EchoStar, partnering with Bell Canada, launched DISH Network Canada.