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AT&T Businesses Television News Entertainment

AT&T Buying DirecTV for $48.5 Billion 173

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
AT&T is acquiring satellite TV provider DirecTV in a deal worth $48.5 billion. This will bring 20 million more U.S. television subscribers under AT&T's roof, making it the second biggest TV provider, behind Comcast. The deal is subject to regulatory approval, and to help that along, AT&T says it will sell its 8% stake in America Movil, which is a competitor to DirecTV in some areas. "By acquiring the country’s biggest satellite television operator, AT&T will help bolster its competitive position against Comcast. Though pay television is considered a mature market whose subscriber growth has slowed dramatically in recent years, the business nonetheless generates billions of dollars in cash. ... Part of the attraction may be DirecTV’s ample cash flow. While its business has shown little growth in recent years, it generated about $8 billion in earnings last year. Much of that will go toward future investments in growth, AT&T said, including bidding at least $9 billion for wireless network capacity that the government plans to auction off soon. By gaining satellite TV, AT&T may also be able to free up capacity on its existing broadband network."
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AT&T Buying DirecTV for $48.5 Billion

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:12PM (#47034471)

    AT&T can't be allowed to get any bigger than it is now. They had to break it up once already.

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:21PM (#47034549) Journal

    They are the last real competitor to terrestrial cable tv. And the only one whose DVR was bright enough to back up 10s when you fastforwarded through a commercial and released when you saw the show start whizzin' by.

  • Well. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:25PM (#47034559)

    We know where all the money they should be using on upgrading their network is going.

  • $48.5 billion? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPalmgren (1009823) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:32PM (#47034593)

    If you spent HALF that on your network you'd crush your competition! What a crock of shit.

  • Re:$48.5 billion? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:52PM (#47034675)

    If you spent HALF that on your network you'd crush your competition! What a crock of shit.

    Again with the "I know how to run a billion dollar business!" nonsense. You've no idea what you're talking about.

    If they spent 24 billion on their network, what could they do at best? Their entire revenue from residential customers is $5.7 billion. http://about.att.com/story/att... [att.com]
    even if they'd have to increase their customers by 500% just to get revenue close to that kind of money. That's not even including all the added cost to support it. Residential broadband is not profitable. No one wants to expand it because it's just bad business sense. All the money is in services and commercial products. Residential networks are just a liability they have to take on to get first shot at the commercial customers.

    The kind of money it would cost to improve our countries network to the standards you likely want would NEVER be profitable. Ever. They'd be bankrupt in a few years.

  • Re:$48.5 billion? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tysonedwards (969693) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:54PM (#47034689)
    Not that it really matters, but the majority of the deal is in stock...
    Also known as "we now own you, and in exchange your stockholders now hold a smaller portion of our stock instead!

    Only 30% of the deal is in cash, making it 14.5 Billion changing hands. Still a big number, but not as bad as it sounds.

    As such, it actually comes out a touch cheaper than the cost that DirecTV spent on their satellites in the first place, and AT&T gets to exploit the 16% profit margin on DirecTV's lines of service.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @07:01PM (#47034711)

    Since AT&T has the wireless broadband infrastructure and also DSL, they are the only company that will be able to keep Comcast/TWC in check.

    +1 Funny.

  • Nooooooooo!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by opkool (231966) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @07:02PM (#47034715) Homepage

    Nooooooooo!!!

  • Sports (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Sunday May 18, 2014 @07:08PM (#47034759) Homepage Journal

    cable television is something noone cares about [in] the age of the internet

    That might be true once decades-long carriage contracts between the networks and the cable system operators expire and once decades-long contracts between the major professional and collegiate sport leagues and the networks expire. Until then, we're left with games that get blacked out online if shown on national or regional cable networks.

  • Re:$48.5 billion? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nabsltd (1313397) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @07:23PM (#47034827)

    As such, it actually comes out a touch cheaper than the cost that DirecTV spent on their satellites in the first place, and AT&T gets to exploit the 16% profit margin on DirecTV's lines of service.

    And, it basically kills off any chance for improvement of DirecTV technologies:

    While its business has shown little growth in recent years, it generated about $8 billion in earnings last year. Much of that will go toward future investments in growth, AT&T said, including bidding at least $9 billion for wireless network capacity that the government plans to auction off soon.

    Basically, AT&T is going to cannibalize DirecTV by taking all the money from DirecTV to use on cell phone spectrum. So, no money for new satellites, improved encoding hardware, more servers for download of on demand, etc.

    I've been a DirecTV subscriber since 1999, and if this merger goes through, I'll have to start looking for some other provider. It might even make me cut the cord.

  • by whistlingtony (691548) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @11:49PM (#47035887)

    Assholes always preaching the gun. Meanwhile less than half the population bothers to vote. Lets actually USE the ballot box before we switch to the ammo box, huh? I mean, I get the allure, but that sort of things has a really shitty history of actually working.

    Hell, if we all organized and stopped buying NIKE products until they told congress to behave, then moved from company to company just NOT buying products, we'd get immediate action. We could NOT do things and if we did it in an organized fashion, shit would change.

    Or you could try taking your AR-15 and going up against military hardware and training. Good Luck!

  • by whistlingtony (691548) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @11:57PM (#47035911)

    Yup. That finger in our ass is the invisible hand of the Free Market. :D

    Whenever someone tells me that the Free Market is better at regulating companies that government, I ask them to show me ONE example, since its so simple and easy. Just one. No, the gay hating wedding cake place doesn't count. Show me an example where a LARGE company EVER was punished by consumers for being assholes.

    I still remember watching people roll into the ARCO (Part of B.P., it's right on the sign) gas station near my house right after the B.P. oil rig spill in the Gulf. There was a Shell right across the street. People just didn't care. It was 5cents cheaper a gallon. That's less than a buck savings on a regular gas tank, and the ignorant !@#$ers didn't even think about it. It still bothers me to this day.

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