Deals

AT&T plans to acquire DirecTV for $48.5B — with a net neutrality promise

AT&T hopes to acquire satellite TV provider DirecTV.

Above: AT&T hopes to acquire satellite TV provider DirecTV.

Image Credit: Corporate logos

AT&T agreed today to acquire satellite television provider DirecTV for about $48.5 billion.

The acquisition, announced via a press release, will close only if approved by regulators. Both companies approved the transaction Sunday.

It’s the second major TV and cable internet provider consolidation in the works: Comcast announced plans in February to acquire Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, although that acquisition is also pending regulatory approval.

According to the Times, AT&T ($T) will pay $95 per share ($28.50 in cash and $66.50 in AT&T stock), a 10 percent premium to DirecTV’s current stock price of $86.18 ($DTV). Including assumed debt, the transaction is valued at $67.1 billion.

As a point of reference, AT&T’s current market cap is about $190.7 billion.

The release describes DirecTV as “the premier pay TV provider in the United States and Latin America.” The combined company will be able to deliver high-speed broadband (wired) services to a total of 70 million customer locations, the companies say.

In order to encourage regulatory approval, AT&T is making several promises:

  • Expanding wired broadband coverage to 15 million new locations, “mostly in rural areas.”
  • Offering a stand-alone wireline broadband package that doesn’t require a TV or phone subscription, at speeds of at least 6Mbps.
  • Unchanged pricing on DirecTV packages for at least three years.
  • A commitment to the FCC’s Open Internet provisions as established in 2010 (see: FCC Open Internet Order PDF, and the agency’s Open Internet website).
  • Divesting itself of its interest in América Móvil.

Additionally, AT&T has no intention of changing its plans to participate in the FCC’s planned spectrum auctions this year and next, in which the company plans to bid at least $9 billion for new spectrum licenses that will allow it to deliver fast wireless connections.

DirecTV will continue to be headquarted in El Segundo, California.

Here’s a look at the last 6 months of each stock’s price.

DTV Chart

DTV data by YCharts

And here’s the relative change in each stock, compared to the S&P 500, for the past six months. AT&T has underperformed the market slightly, while DirecTV has returned a booming 32.83% over six months, or about 8 times the S&P 500.

DTV Chart

DTV data by YCharts

Hat tip: New York Times

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