AT&T to announce DirecTV acquisition

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

(c) 2014, Bloomberg News.

NEW YORK -- AT&T is aiming to announce an agreement to acquire DirecTV by Monday, according to a person familiar with the matter, adding satellite-TV subscribers as the biggest competitors in the pay-TV industry bulk up.

Both boards are scheduled to vote Sunday on the terms, said the person who asked not to be identified because the information is private. While the two sides had expected the deal to take longer, they made progress on key structures of the transaction in recent days, two people said.

The purchase, which people have said would value DirecTV at about $50 billion, would give AT&T a national satellite-TV provider to combine with its U.S. wireless service and phone and high-speed Internet offerings. AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson is using deals to get bigger as competitors Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc. plan their own merger and as consolidation accelerates across the entire communications industry.

Brad Burns, a spokesman for AT&T, declined to comment. Darris Gringeri, a spokesman for DirecTV, didn't respond to requests for comment. BuzzFeed reported this weekend that the companies were on track to announce the acquisition Sunday.

DirecTV, which doesn't have its own phone service or a competitive Internet offering, is under rising pressure to find a partner as more viewers go online for video and the pool of traditional pay-TV customers shrinks in the U.S.

Under the plan being discussed, management of DirecTV, the largest U.S. satellite-TV provider, will continue to run the company as a unit of AT&T, people familiar with the matter said last week. DirecTV CEO Mike White is likely to retire after 2015, the people said.