AT&T announced its plans to take over the satellite TV company back in May, with the deal being worth $48.5 billion, as VentureBeat previously reported. The move would give AT&T a nationwide TV service that could theoretically compete with the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and others while also giving the telecom another service to bundle with its wireless data, broadband Internet, and phone services.
DirecTV said 99 percent of its shareholders voted in favor of the AT&T deal, which still needs federal regulatory approval before becoming official. The companies expect the deal to gain that approval by early 2015, but that might be wishful thinking based on the number of major decisions the Federal Communications Commission still has to deal will as well as the amount of negative attention the deal is getting from critics.
AT&T already operates its own TV service, Uverse, but it is restricted to select regions across the country and not available everywhere like DirecTV. For this reason, AT&T argues, a merger would not reduce the amount of competition in the pay-TV space. It’s a flimsy argument, and it certainly doesn’t help that the FCC is also in the middle of determining whether to approve a merger from Comcast and Time Warner Cable for many of the same reasons.