It’s official: U.S. carrier AT&T has confirmed that it’s indeed set to acquire satellite television operator DirecTV for almost $50 billion, according to a recent press release.
More precisely, the carrier will shell out $48.5 billion for DirecTV, which is the second-largest pay TV provider in the United States and enjoys a customer base of more than 35 million subscribers (as of December 2012). The move will reportedly create “a unique new competitor with unprecedented capabilities in mobility, video, and broadband services,” AT&T explained, adding:
This distribution scale will position the company to better meet consumers’ future viewing and programming preferences, whether traditional pay TV, on-demand video services like Netflix or Hulu streamed over a broadband connection (mobile or fixed) or a combination of viewing preferences on any screen.
The transaction enables the combined company to offer consumers bundles that include video, high-speed broadband and mobile services using all of its sales channels – AT&T’s 2,300 retail stores and thousands of authorized dealers and agents of both companies nationwide.
As such, this will be AT&T’s biggest acquisition since it decided against purchasing T-Mobile USA some years ago.
AT&T’s purchase of DirecTV still needs to gain regulatory approval, and this could prove to be a major stumbling block for the acquisition. However, if the deal indeed goes ahead, the combined company could work well with Apple in relation to its Apple TV platform.
As we suggested earlier this month, “given the closeness between Apple and AT&T, perhaps a future Apple TV could also integrate with DirecTV.” Cupertino has indeed reportedly considered adding a subscription-based Comcast streaming service to its set-top box, yet integrating an AT&T-DirecTV service could prove to be a more attractive alternative.
We’ll keep you updated with further information concerning the deal as we receive it.
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