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AT&T in $50bn bid for DirecTV

US telecoms giant AT&T is reportedly in talks to buy compatriot DTH provider DirecTV in a deal worth close to US$50m.

If completed, the transaction would give AT&T, the country’s second-largest wireless carrier, control of the country’s largest satellite provider.

DirecTV would run as a unit of AT&T, according to Bloomberg. The telco has already branched out into the pay-TV business with the launch of IPTV play U-Verse, but the service has limited reach.

Rumours of a deal between the pair has prompted a spike in DirecTV shares, which closed at US$87.16 on Monday, rising further in after-hours trading.

AT&T attempted a takeover of rival wireless carrier T-Mobile in 2011 but this failed because of resistance from regulators.

In the last 12 months, it has been looking to expand in Europe and considered an acquisition of Vodafone, which sold its stake in Verizon Wireless back to AT&T rival Verizon Communications for US$130bn in February.

In the same month, US cable and programming giant Comcast agreed to buy Time Warner Cable for about US$45bn, a proposed merger of the nation’s two largest cablecos.

California-based DirecTV had US$8.6bn in revenue last year and provides satellite TV to about 20 million subscribers in the US and 17 million in Latin America.

AT&T and DirecTV both declined to comment on the story.

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