AT&T’s TV services, including DirecTV, U-verse and AT&T TV, this morning lost roughly 25 stations in 20 markets due to a fee fight with Cox Media Group, and its owner, Apollo Global Management.
DirecTV and AT&T TV could lose 14 stations next Tuesday due to a carriage dispute with Cox Media Group which manages the stations. (The fee fight also affects U-verse in the markets it serves.)
Private equity firm TPG has entered into exclusive talks to acquire a minority stake in AT&T’s satellite TV division, DirecTV, in a deal that would allow the U.S. wireless carrier to trim its net debt of close to $150 billion, people familiar with the matter say.
AT&T should take the lowball offer, streamline its business and learn from its mistakes.
AT&T’s attempt to unload DirecTV has been thrown into doubt, as the telecom giant has signaled it’s unhappy with the offers it has received for the struggling satellite TV service. Earlier this month, AT&T pushed back a deadline for final bids for DirecTV into January — and told prospective bidders it may cancel the auction altogether if it doesn’t get better offers, according to sources close to the situation.
AT&T received bids for its DirecTV unit valuing the satellite TV service at more than $15 billion including debt, with Michael Klein’s blank-check company among the bidders.
Approximately 60 Tegna television stations were dropped after carriage negotiations failed to reach a new contract Tuesday evening. The old contract between the station group and the satellite and cable provider expired last month and was extended until 7 p.m. ET Tuesday.
The group broadcaster grants a retrans extension to Dec. 1 as talks continue.
A blank-check company backed by former Citigroup Inc. rainmaker Michael Klein is among the parties interested in buying a stake in AT&T Inc.’s DirecTV satellite-television business, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Churchill Capital Corp. IV, which raised $2.07 billion in July, is working with advisers on a potential bid for the asset, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private.
AT&T is considering selling significant minority stake in DirecTV, AT&T Now and U-Verse pay-TV operations. Final bids are due in early December, sources say. A deal could value DirecTV at less than $15 billion after AT&T acquired it for $67 billion plus debt about five years ago.
Charlie Ergen’s dream of merging his Dish Network with AT&T’s DirecTV has been squashed by the Department of Justice — yet again. Regulators with the DOJ’s antitrust division recently informed executives of AT&T that a marriage between DirecTV and Dish would likely have to wait until faster 5G wireless service is more widely available in rural markets, two sources close to the situation said.
When AT&T announced that it would acquire DirecTV in 2014, it was initially billed as a way to create “a unique new competitor with unprecedented capabilities in mobility, video and broadband services.” However, that acquisition hasn’t played out well. AT&T spent $67.1 billion in total, including absorbing DirecTV’s net debt load, while the transaction pegged DirecTV’s equity value at $48.5 billion.
AT&T is pressing ahead with an auction of DirecTV — and it’s shaping up to be a fire sale. The telecom giant last week invited a handful of suitors into the second round of an auction of the struggling satellite-TV provider, even though first-round bids had valued DirecTV at well below $20 billion.
AT&T never had a clear plan to integrate DirecTV into its overall strategy, and instead piddled away its brand and showed an utter failure of leadership in the process.
DirecTV this week has quietly dropped its cheapest advertised programming package, effectively raising the entry price for new subscribers by $5 a month. (The increase does not affect existing customers.) The satcaster used to offer a “Select” plan for new customers for $59.99 a month for the first year of a two-year agreement. However, the Select package is no longer available as an option for new customers at DirecTV’s website or via the 800-line customer service department. Instead, the lowest-priced plan is now “Entertainment,” which offers 160 channels for $64.99 a month.
Black News Channel has launched on satellite TV platform DirecTV, which said it also will launch Cleo TV before the end of the year to greater diversify its program offerings.
AT&T is taking a fresh look at its DirecTV business, according to people familiar with the matter, exploring a deal for a satellite-TV service wounded by cord cutting.
DirecTV has quietly begun selling a streaming version of the NFL Sunday Ticket to any non-DirecTV subscriber in 29 select markets. The 29 markets include the home cities for 26 of the 32 NFL teams.
Combining the two fading satellite TV operations isn’t a matter of if but only when, Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen says.
DirecTV could lose two CBS, one NBC, two ABC and two CW affiliates next week due to a retans fee fight with their owner, Lilly Broadcasting.
AT&T has reached a multi-year deal with Fox to allow DirecTV to offer the network’s programming in approximately 12 rural markets where the satcaster does not provide local channels.
Last week’s Fox Business report that “bankers” are saying AT&T needs to sell DirecTV because it’s an ‘underperforming asset’ certainly rings true. Since AT&T purchased DIRECTV in 2015 for $49 billion, the nation’s top satellite TV service has lost roughly five million subscribers. Making matters worse, the customer defections are dramatically increasing with each financial quarter. But there is one reason why AT&T might not sell. And it’s not because AT&T still sees value in the satcaster, which company executives suggest in half-hearted declarations to shareholders and financial analysts. No, the real reason why AT&T might not sell DirecTV is that no one might want to buy it.
Bankers say AT&T needs to sell DIRECTV due to the coronavirus outbreak and accumulating company debt, according to a Fox Business report. The report does not name the bankers, nor say how many are offering this opinion. It also does not say if the bankers are communicating this position with AT&T, or if AT&T is accepting the verdict that it’s time to unload the nation’s top satellite TV service.
Dan York, who spent more than two decades with the company and was the face of DirecTV in the television industry, is leaving the company after two decades. AT&T on Thursday confirmed York’s planned March 1 exit.
At AT&T spokesman said a new retransmission consent agreement was reached Sunday, and stations are returning to DirecTV and AT&T in time for the NFL Playoffs and Golden Globes, among other programming.