AT&T Agrees to Buy DirecTV for Nearly $50 Billion

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 18 2014 6:09 PM

AT&T Agrees to Buy DirecTV for Nearly $50 Billion

DirecTV dishes are mounted on the roof of an apartment building in San Rafael, California

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It’s official. After much speculation, on Sunday AT&T announced it had agreed to buy DirecTV for around $49 billion, immediately turning the telecommunications giant into a major player in pay television that will rival cable companies, reports the Wall Street Journal. Coming mere months after Comcast agreed to pay $45.2 billion to buy Time Warner Cable, the deal also raises “fresh concerns over competition and options for consumers,” notes the Washington Post.

The huge merger marks the latest example of how companies are seeking growth as a strategy to deal with a changing media landscape at a time when people are increasingly watching videos online. When the deal is finalized, which is expected to happen within 12 months, AT&T will gain  DirecTV’s 20 million subscribers. And it will be able to offer customers packages that include phone, high-speed Internet and paid television subscriptions. Although AT&T already offered paid-television services, it had a limited reach. "This deal is about getting more money from the same customers," Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics, tells USA Today. "We are running out of people who want to buy wireless service." Federal regulators are likely to scrutinize the deal closely, in part because it removes a competitor from the Internet market, which means those who are concerned about the increasing power of Internet service providers are likely to protest.


AT&T agreed to pay $95 a share for DirecTV, with $28.50 in cash and $66.50 in stock, according to Bloomberg, which notes that it marks a 10 percent premium over DirecTV’s Friday closing price. “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,” AT&T’s chairman and chief executive, Randall Stephenson, said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming DirecTV’s talented people to the AT&T family.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.



The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer


Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.


Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The Slate Quiz
Oct. 24 2014 12:10 AM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
Oct. 23 2014 11:47 PM Don’t Just Sit There How to be more productive during your commute.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 24 2014 7:00 AM Gallery: The Partial Solar Eclipse of October 2014
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.