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AT&T executive reiterates company’s desire to sell DirecTV

(Image: AT&T/Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

An AT&T executive reiterated his company’s desire to offload satellite pay TV service DirecTV less than five years after the telecommunications giant acquired the service.

In statements made at a media conference on Tuesday, AT&T Chief Operating Officer John Stankey said he could see DirecTV eventually being acquired by rival satellite TV company Dish Network.

His comments echoed those of Dish chairman and former chief executive Charlie Ergen, who said last month on a conference call that he would like to marry both satellite TV services in the wake of substantial moves by consumers away from traditional linear pay TV services in favor of cheaper streaming options.

Both Ergen and Stankey seemed to lean on a merger as viable to the survivability of both businesses, but both warned of significant regulatory hurdles if a deal was proposed.

Dish and DirecTV, both previously operated by different owners, tried to merge at least twice over the last two decades. Both mergers failed after federal regulators expressed anti-trust concerns.

Stankey said a deal in 2020 isn’t likely to sail through either, despite the changing landscape of pay television. On Tuesday, he said getting approval for a deal would be “a little unpredictable,” according to comments cited by the trade publication Deadline.

DirecTV was acquired by AT&T in July 2015.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).