The last time AT&T attempted a merger, it did not go well. But that’s never stopped AT&T in the past, why should the future be any different? Hence, they’re rumored to be about to eat DirecTV whole.
It’s just a rumor, so far, but it’s one the LA Times takes rather seriously. And for good reason, if it’s true:
A combination of DirecTV and telecommunications behemoth AT&T would create a pay-TV giant with almost 26 million customers in the U.S. DirecTV has more than 20 million subscribers and AT&T’s U-Verse has close to 6 million customers. DirecTV also has 17 million subscribers in Latin America.
It goes much deeper than that, though. The former Ma Bell is still the biggest landline provider in the US, and the second largest mobile provider. It would essentially be a communications behemoth, and possibly the single largest provider of communications services on the planet.
You don’t have a business degree to realize this is in reaction to, and will largely hinge on, the Comcast/Time-Warner merger that really shouldn’t be going through. It would keep AT&T competitive with Comcast’s customer numbers and keep the company from gobbling up a satellite company. And DirecTV is probably just happy to have somebody offering it an absurd amount of money for its customer base.
Whether the merger will go through is anyone’s guess; it seems more likely than Comcast/Time Warner because satellite and U-Verse use different infrastructure and are in wildly different areas. But either way, if Comcast can actually merge with Time Warner Cable, don’t expect this to be the last rumor.