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."