Mobility will be key to AT&T's $49B acquisition of DirecTV


Mobility will be a key aspect of AT&T's $49 billion acquisition of satellite TV provider DirecTV, company executives said during a conference call about the transaction on Monday.

Randall Stephenson, chairman, president and CEO of AT&T, explained that the transaction "gives us the opportunity to lead the way and to redefine the video entertainment for the mobile and high-speed world. That includes delivering content to consumers across multiple screens--mobile devices, TVs, laptops, the back-seat displays of connected cars and even airplanes."

Stephenson added, "We have been working on changing our wireless architecture to be able to carry video ... The next six years are going to be about delivering video over these [mobile] networks. This is the key rationale for trying to do something with DirecTV." He said that it would probably be between 12 to 18 months before "robust" mobile video offerings will be available.

Michael White, chairman, president and CEO of DirecTV, said that the combined companies "will bring new innovations to market, including a wide array of satellite, mobile and broadband services--think mobile video and over the top."

According to the agreement approved by the companies' respective boards on Sunday, AT&T will pay DirecTV shareholders $95 per share--$28.50 in cash and $66.50 in AT&T stock. This would be a 30 percent premium on DirecTV's closing price of $73.17 on March 25, 2014, before rumors circulated about the possible merger.

Stephenson stressed that the proposed acquisition of DirecTV will not affect his firm's plans to participate in the FCC's upcoming AWS spectrum auction later this year and the mobile broadcast spectrum auction next year.

"We think both of these auctions are going to be very important to the industry. We have structured this transaction in a way that ensure we will have plenty of capacity to be very active in both of those auctions ... [Our plans with DirecTV] are going to require significant blocks of contiguous spectrum."

The deal still faces regulatory approval.

For more:
- check out the conference call (reg. req.)
- see the AT&T-DirecTV release

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