TV Answer Man, I thought DIRECTV was supposed to be a new company by now with a new board of directors and executives. What’s up with that? Did the sale fall through? — Gene, Toledo, Ohio.
Gene, AT&T announced on February 25 that it would sell 30 percent of DIRECTV, U-verse and AT&T to a private equity firm, TPG, and the two would combine to create a new company to run all three TV services.
Under the agreement, the new DIRECTV will be governed by a board with two representatives each from AT&T and TPG as well as a fifth seat for the CEO, who will be Bill Morrow, a top AT&T executive. AT&T said the deal was expected to close in the second half of this year.
It’s now the second half so where’s the new DIRECTV, you ask?
There are two recent developments that suggests the launch of the new entity is close.
1. The FCC last week approved the transfer of DIRECTV’s satellite licenses to the new company, a final regulatory obstacle before the new DIRECTV can begin. The agency ruled that the sale was “in the public interest.”
2. The web site, Streaming Clarity, reports that at least one DIRECTV retailer is already promoting something called, ‘DIRECTV Stream,’ which would appear to be a replacement name for AT&T TV. This would make sense. AT&T executives hinted in the sale announcement that the DIRECTV brand would be used for AT&T’s two other TV services, U-verse and AT&T TV.
There are also a few company actions I’ve noticed in my reporting that would suggest the sale is close to finalization. I can’t discuss them publicly, but combined with the two listed above, they tell me that AT&T may be preparing to announce the new company. (Here are my thoughts from last February on how TPG might change DIRECTV.)
The TV Answer Man will monitor this situation, and report back here when new developments occur. Until then, happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann