For weeks, reports have been circulating that AT&T may try to buy DirecTV, the nation's biggest satellite TV company. Now it appears Ma Bell may be preparing to pull the trigger, according to BuzzFeed.
The phone company may announce its plans to acquire DirecTV as soon as Sunday, according to BuzzFeed, which cited an unnamed DirecTV source. AT&T and DirecTV did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Previous media reports have said the deal could be worth $50 billion.
The agreement would create in AT&T a massive pay-TV conglomerate that would rival Comcast in terms of the number of its subscribers. Analysts have said AT&T is watching the cable giant closely as it tries to sell regulators on its own deal to purchase Time Warner Cable. If that acquisition goes through, Comcast would control roughly 30 million U.S. pay-TV customers, potentially bolstering the argument for AT&T's own merger approval.
AT&T already has a small chunk of the pay-TV market with its U-Verse service. Purchasing DirecTV would allow AT&T to shunt its U-Verse video programming onto satellites, freeing up the wireline pipe for broadband data, according to Paul Gallant, a telecom analyst with Guggenheim Partners. The result for U-Verse subscribers might be faster Internet speeds.
All that could make both deals more likely to succeed with regulators.
"If we are right that regulators are likely to approve Comcast-TWC," wrote Gallant in a recent research note, "the FCC/DOJ might view a merged AT&T/DirecTV as a greater restraint on the larger Comcast/TWC."