Is This Holding Up a DIRECTV-Dish Merger?


Q. I would think that AT&T would have sold DIRECTV to Dish by now. Do you have any idea what’s holding up the deal? Is it Charlie Ergen being Charlie Ergen and asking for a low price? — Manny, Newark, New Jersey. 

Manny, AT&T has said it’s not inclined to sell DIRECTV, but the company’s resolve seems to weaken with every quarterly report showing larger and larger subscriber defections. Since the company purchased DIRECTV in 2015, the satellite TV service has lost around five million customers.

To make matters worse, AT&T seems to have punted on DIRECTV, saying it will market the satcaster largely in rural and suburban areas where Internet access is limited. Considering that DIRECTV was once the biggest and most powerful TV service in the land, that’s quite a statement. It’s like saying the New York Yankees will start playing in Triple A.

Dish is the obvious, and possibly, the only candidate to purchase DIRECTV. The nation’s second leading satellite TV service is also experiencing customer declines, but not at the same rate. And adding DIRECTV’s customer base would make Dish the number one pay TV service in the country.

Charlie Ergen, Dish’s chairman and co-founder, has even stated that he thinks a DIRECTV-Dish merger is “inevitable.”

So what could be holding up the ‘inevitable’ deal?

Ergen’s history of turning every negotiation into an ego-fueled game of high stakes poker could be one obstacle. Dish and DIRECTV have discussed mergers in the past only to see talks dissolve when Ergen started doing ‘Ergen things.’ (The companies did merge nearly 20 years ago, but the FCC nixed it on grounds that it would be anti-competitive.)

But there’s another factor here that could be temporarily holding up a deal.

Dish is scheduled on July 1 to close on its $1.4 billion acquisition of Sprint’s Boost Mobile subsidiary, which will significantly aid Dish’s plan to build a 5G wireless network. The sale process has been bumpy, but everything looks good for next week’s completion.

I don’t know this has been the holdup. (We don’t even know for sure that the companies are talking yet.) But it would make sense for Dish to resolve the Boost deal before moving to DIRECTV.

Manny, hope that makes sense. Happy viewing, and stay safe!

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6 comments on “Is This Holding Up a DIRECTV-Dish Merger?”

  1. Figures I have seen from November 2019 show Direct TV to be either still 1st or a very close second in paid TV subscribers. Only Comcast is close at all. The Yankee analogy seems way off. Certainly I may be wrong or not have the numbers correct but I was just wondering.

    1. What is “certain” is that Robert has NO CLUE of what he is talking of…AT&T is famous for “smoke and mirrors” and they are in total DESPERATION mode because they bought DirecTV as the downhill slide was about to take place and have ZERO experience in the world of TV.
      Warner Media was STALE BREAD for years before AT&T bought hem and they STILL had no idea.
      AT&T is staffed TOP to BOTTOM with IDIOTS and the LOSS numbers are only a SMALL % of the REALITY.
      Ergan is up to his ears in 5G fantasy land and IF they have ANY “interest” in what is left of DirecTV, you can BET it will be a fraction of what AT&T paid for it.
      AT&T is…
      200 BILLION in DEBT (and nothing worth anything NEAR that to sell)
      Selling assets…
      LOOOOOSING MILLIONS of customers every quarter to better and more efficient providers…
      LAID OFF OVER 3500 ppl (NO WORK because NO CUSTOMERS)…
      GOOD as FIRED the idiot STEVENSON…
      and BORROWED 50 BILLION MORE to pay investor trolls dividends.
      (TALK ABOUT “ponzi schemes” !!)

      AT&T has NO land line business, the WORST cell phone service and is THE MOST EXPENSIVE of everything.
      THE ONLY PPL that still have AT&T anything are either complacent, or have NO other choice.
      AT&T is FINISHED…
      And, IF you think they are “TOO BIG TO FAIL” then age has obviously caught up with you brain.
      If you are clueless in business…as AT&T is, the END will come.

      1. You forgot to mention AT&T HORRIBLE Overseas Customer Service.

        I say that is the MAIN reason they went South along with:

        AT&T is staffed TOP to BOTTOM with IDIOTS like STEVENSON

  2. I can’t stand Direct TV! It’s horrible…hoping Dish buys them out. Although I understand Comcast is more reasonable in price. They stated originally no commercials
    What a joke! We were supposed to have been given a remote like Dish has where you can talk into it to locate the stay. I have never received one . Do NOT GET DIRECT…IT’S HORRIBLE. OUR TV WAS OUT AN ENTIRE NIGHT DUE TO TECHNICAL ISSUES. NOT RESOLVED FOR THE ENTIRE NIGHT!!! I REPEAT DO NOT GO WITH DIRECT TV!!!!!!

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