No one is a bigger tightwad than Charlie Ergen. The 55-year-old Ergen, a poker-playing former financial analyst for Frito-Lay (PEP), got his start in satellite TV by selling one of those giant backyard dishes from the back of a pickup. Even after he built Dish Network (DISH) into the fastest-growing satellite TV company, he insisted that even his top executives fly coach and stay two to a hotel room when traveling. So it's no surprise that Ergen saw opportunity in scooping up debt held by the troubled satellite radio company Sirius XM (SIRI). Wall Street sources say Ergen bought the bonds on the cheap as a possible precursor to a takeover. Talk about a skinflint entrée to a new, if struggling, business.

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Jeffrey Gangemi is a communications and innovation strategist at Dun & Bradstreet. He was previously a staff writer for

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