Friday, July 24, 2015

AT&T Completes Acquisition of DIRECTV

AT&T completed its acquisition of DIRECTV, making it the largest pay TV provider in the United States and the world, providing service to more than 26 million customers in the United States and more than 191 million customers in Latin America, including Mexico and the Caribbean. Additionally, AT&T has more than 132 million wireless subscribers and connections in the U.S. and Mexico; offers 4G LTE mobile coverage to nearly 310 million people in the U.S.; covers 57 million U.S. customer locations with high-speed Internet; and has nearly 16 million subscribers to its high-speed Internet service.

DIRECTV shareholders received 1.892 shares of AT&T common stock, in addition to $28.50 in cash, per share of DIRECTV.

AT&T said the DIRECTV acquisition significantly diversifies itsrevenue mix, products, geographies and customer bases. As a result of this acquisition, as well as AT&T’s acquisition of Iusacell and Nextel Mexico, AT&T expects that, by the end of 2015, its largest revenue streams will be, in descending order: Business Solutions (both wireless and wireline); Entertainment & Internet; Consumer Mobility; and International Mobility and Video.

“Combining DIRECTV with AT&T is all about giving customers more choices for great video entertainment integrated with mobile and high-speed Internet service,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “We’ll now be able to meet consumers’ future entertainment preferences, whether they want traditional TV service with premier programming, their favorite content on a mobile device, or video streamed over the Internet to any screen.

“This transaction allows us to significantly expand our high-speed Internet service to reach millions more households, which is a perfect complement to our coast-to-coast TV and mobile coverage,” Stephenson said. “We’re now a fundamentally different company with a diversified set of capabilities and businesses that set us apart from the competition.”

In approving the deal, the FCC imposed a number of conditions that will extend for four years, including:


  • Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) Deployment. Recognizing that the merger reduces AT&T-DIRECTV’s incentive to deploy FTTP service, the Commission adopts as a condition of this merger the expansion of FTTP service to 12.5 million customer locations. This condition also responds to the harm of the loss of a video competitor in areas where AT&T and DIRECTV had directly competed before the merger by providing a pathway for increased competition from services that rely on broadband Internet to deliver video.
  • Gigabit Service to E-rate Eligible Schools and Libraries. In addition, to ensure that schools and libraries also benefit from expanded fiber deployment to consumers and institutions, the Commission is also requiring AT&T-DIRECTV to offer gigabit service to any E-rate eligible school or library where AT&T-DIRECTV deploys FTTP service.
  • Non-Discriminatory Usage-Based Practices. Recognizing that AT&T is the only  major ISP that applies “data caps” across the board to all of its fixed broadband customers and that this merger increases the incentive of AT&T-DIRECTV to use strategies that limit consumers’ access to online video distribution services in order to favor its own video services, the Commission requires AT&T-DIRECTV, as a condition of this merger, to refrain from imposing discriminatory usage-based allowances or other discriminatory retail terms and conditions on its broadband Internet service.
  • Internet Interconnection Disclosure Requirements. Recognizing the importance of interconnection to the operation of online video services, the Commission also requires as a condition of this merger that AT&T-DIRECTV submit its Internet interconnection agreements so that the Commission may monitor the terms of such agreements to determine whether AT&T-DIRECTV is denying or impeding access to its networks in anticompetitive ways through the terms of these agreements.
  • Discounted Broadband Services for Low-Income Subscribers. While finding that the availability of better and lower priced bundles of video and broadband service is a potential benefit of the merger, the Commission also concludes that the public interest requires us to ensure that a bundle of video and broadband services is not the only competitive choice for low-income subscribers who may not be able to afford bundled services. The Commission accordingly requires as a condition of the merger that AT&T-DIRECTV make available an affordable, low-price standalone broadband service to low-income consumers in its broadband service area.
  • Compliance Program and Reporting. Given the important role that these conditions serve in securing the public interest benefits of the merger, the Commission requiresthat AT&T-DIRECTV retain both an internal company compliance officer and an independent, external compliance officer that will report and monitor, respectively, the combined entity’s compliance with all conditions of the merger. 


Some other notes on the transaction:

AT&T announced that John Stankey will be CEO of AT&T Entertainment & Internet Services, responsible for leading its combined DIRECTV and AT&T Home Solutions operations. Stankey will report to Stephenson. DIRECTV President, Chairman and CEO Mike White announced his plans to retire.

AT&T is also developing unique video offerings for consumers through, among other initiatives, its Otter Media joint venture with The Chernin Group. The joint venture was established to invest in, acquire and launch over-the-top (OTT) video services. This includes its purchase of a majority stake in Fullscreen, a global online media company that works with more than 50,000 content creators who engage 450 million subscribers and generate 4 billion monthly views.

http://about.att.com/story/att_completes_acquisition_of_directv.html


  • DIRECTV first launched its satellite-based TV service in 1994.
  • DIRECTV operates a fleet of twelve geosynchronous satellites, including eleven owned satellites and one leased satellite. These include six Ku-Band satellites at the following orbital locations: 101 WL (three), 110 WL (one), 119 WL (one), 95 WL (one-leased), and six Ka-Band satellites at 99 WL (three) and 103 WL (three) orbital locations. The company has contracted for the construction and launch of one new satellite, D15, which is to launch in 2015 and provide additional HD, replacement and backup capacity


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