As expected, AT&T has announced today that it has reached a deal to acquire satellite TV heavyweight DirecTV. The buyout will come in the form of a stock-and-cash transaction—$95 per share based on AT&T’s Friday closing price—worth in upwards of $50 billion.
Between DirecTV’s satellite business and AT&T’s U-verse arm, the move results in a combined 26 million TV subscribers. That essentially makes AT&T the number one pay-TV provider, second if the long-rumored Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal ever goes through…
Here’s more from the press release:
“This is a unique opportunity that will redefine the video entertainment industry and create a company able to offer new bundles and deliver content to consumers across multiple screens – mobile devices, TVs, laptops, cars and even airplanes. At the same time, it creates immediate and long-term value for our shareholders,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO. “DIRECTV is the best option for us because they have the premier brand in pay TV, the best content relationships, and a fast-growing Latin American business. DIRECTV is a great fit with AT&T and together we’ll be able to enhance innovation and provide customers new competitive choices for what they want in mobile, video and broadband services. We look forward to welcoming DIRECTV’s talented people to the AT&T family.”
“This compelling and complementary combination will bring significant benefits to all consumers, shareholders and DIRECTV employees,” said Mike White, president and CEO of DIRECTV. “U.S. consumers will have access to a more competitive bundle; shareholders will benefit from the enhanced value of the combined company; and employees will have the advantage of being part of a stronger, more competitive company, well positioned to meet the evolving video and broadband needs of the 21st century marketplace.”
So what does this mean for consumers? Nothing yet. Remember, the buyout still has to receive regulatory approval, something that AT&T has struggled with in past acquisition attempts. Regulators are currently examining the aforementioned Comcast/Time Warner deal.
Should it go through, AT&T would become the content distribution leader across mobile, video and broadband platforms here in the US. Some public interests groups are concerned about what that may mean for wireless and TV subscribers, who already have few choices.