AT&T and BSkyB eye major broadcasting acquisitions

by Jimmy Nicholls| 13 May 2014

American and British broadcasters join Comcast in flurry of mergers.

News of major broadcasting deals either side of the Atlantic this week has signalled a revival of big business fortunes in the media and telecommunications.

US telecoms firm AT&T is looking to buy satellite television firm DirecTV in a deal thought to be worth $50bn. Separately UK broadcaster BSkyB is seeking to combine several European TV stations under one roof.

AT&T are offering up to $100 a share for DirecTV, compared with $87.16 per share when trading closed on Monday in a deal that could be closed within the next few weeks.

BSkyB is meanwhile seeking to acquire Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland in a deal said to be worth €10bn, creating a broadcaster with 20 million subscribers.

Rupert Murdoch currently owns 39% of BSkyB through 21st Century Fox, which also has a 55% stake in Sky Deutschland and wholly owns Sky Italia.

The announcements follow controversy in the US over a proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, a deal thought to be worth $45bn.

If AT&T deal is completed the resulting company would be comparable in size to Comcast should it succeeds in acquiring Time Warner Cable. Both US deals face regulatory approval.

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