TV Answer Man, I read your blog post on why Dish would want to merge with DIRECTV, but why would DIRECTV want to merge with Dish? It seems to me that DIRECTV has its own problems, right? Why get together with Dish which is also losing subscribers, right? — Tim, Arlington, Virginia.

Tim, you are right. I published an article this week on why Dish would be interested in merging with DIRECTV although the latter has lost more than 12 million subscribers since AT&T purchased it in 2015.

But DIRECTV is equally motivated to seek a merger and here’s why:

AT&T spun off DIRECTV as a separate company in August 2021. However, the telco giant still owns 70 percent of DIRECTV, which includes the satellite service, DIRECTV Stream, and U-verse, while the private equity firm, TPG, owns 30 percent. For different reasons, AT&T and TPG have little interest in running an entertainment company in the long term. They created DIRECTV as a separate entity to ultimately max out their investment by selling it to another entertainment company that would see the benefit of DIRECTV’s remaining subscribers and businesses.

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Dish is at the top of that list, and maybe the only company on it. Since Dish has its own satellite business, it could benefit from the merger more than anyone else by combining resources and eliminating a competitor. The DIRECTV rival has the motivation to make the merger worthwhile for AT&T and TPG.

So a Dish merger, which would likely see Dish running the company and taking majority (if not full) ownership, would allow AT&T and TPG to walk away from DIRECTV with their pockets somewhat replenished.

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Of course, this is still speculation. Although Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen hinted last November that a merger could come in early 2023, we do not know if the companies are talking. But logic suggests that both companies should be motivated to engage and execute, assuming they believe the merger would be approved by federal regulators.

Tim, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann