On Sunday, AT&T announced it is acquiring DirecTV, gaining 20 million U.S. subscribers in a $49 billion deal.
AT&T will buy the company at $95 a share, The Washington Post reports, or $66.40 a share in AT&T stock and $28.50 a share in cash. Assuming the two giants join forces, they will be able to sell consumers bundles of phone, pay-TV, and high-speed internet. "This is very, very unique," AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said in a conference call. The deal "fulfills a vision that we've had for a couple of years... to take premium content and deliver it over multiple points for the consumer."
It is the latest large-scale merger in the telecommunications industry, a trend that worries some. "The industry needs more competition, not more mergers," says John Bergmayer of the consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge. "We'll have to analyze this one carefully for potential harms both to the video programming and the wireless markets."