DirecTV shareholders voted Thursday to approve a planned acquisition of the company by AT&T for $48.5 billion, The Hollywood Reporter said, with more than 99 percent of shareholders giving a nod of approval to the deal. AT&T first announced its intentions to acquire DirecTV in May; following months of rumors that it had its eye on the satellite business.
If the acquisition is approved by regulators DirecTV will serve as a subsidiary of AT&T, which will obtain all 20 million customers and will put AT&T in a position to directly compete with Comcast, the largest cable provider in the United States that is also trying to scoop up Time Warner Cable. AT&T has said it will offer new bundles for customers if the deal is approved. The Hollywood Reporter said DirecTV’s CEO Mike White “expressed optimism today that the deal would close by April.”
There will certainly be some scrutiny by the federal government, however, which will need to review this deal in addition to Comcast’s planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The cable TV landscape is set to change drastically if both deals are approved. Consumers have the choice to choose between AT&T, DirecTV, Comcast and Time Warner Cable right now (among other providers) and, if both deals get green lights, those choices will dwindle down to two options.
Comcast has fought against that sort of mentality, however, and has argued that it doesn’t compete directly with Time Warner Cable in any markets, which suggests consumer choice won’t change as drastically as it seems it will.