This has been rumored for a bit, but over the weekend AT&T officially announced plans to buy DirecTV for $50 billion
. DirecTV is one of the companies perpetually being bought and sold (or rumored to be). The company has been involved in more aborted mergers than I can remember. Either way, while Wall Street folks often like just about any merger announcement (mergers and later spinoffs are great moneymakers for the banks), even it has been scratching its head
at this particular deal. At best, it seems like a sort of reaction to Comcast-Time Warner Cable and an attempt to get bigger for the sake of bigness. Though, of course, it's getting bigger in a pretty saturated market (and one that is actually on the decline due to cord cutting). Perhaps it's an admission that AT&T's own TV service, Uverse, just hasn't done that well. Or maybe it's just an admission that AT&T is swimming in too much cash.
Either way, if both this and the Comcast/TWC merger go through, then we'll have an almost complete duopoly on pay TV. Congress wasted no time in announcing that hearings will have to be held about the potential merger, and, as with the Comcast deal, expect months of puffed up rhetoric and questionable op-ed pieces, as lobbyists work over time to make sure the deal happens. Of course, there is another way that the public can make their own statement on all of this: cut the cord and stop relying on terrible pay TV deals that really just aren't worth it any more.