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May 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The long-predicted deal is done. Pending regulatory approval, AT&T will acquire DirecTV for about $49 billion plus $18 billion in debt. In a statement AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said, “This is a unique opportunity that will redefine the video entertainment industry and create a company able to offer new bundles and deliver content to consumers across multiple screens — mobile devices, TVs, laptops, cars and even airplanes.” DirecTV Chief Executive Mike White added that the combination is a “significant win for consumers.” But consumer groups did not agree that the deal would benefit the companies’ customers. Referring to the latest merger as well as the earlier Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal, Free Press President Craig Aaron said, “Instead of innovating and investing in their networks, companies like AT&T and Comcast are simply buying up the competition. These takeovers are expensive, and consumers end up footing the bill for merger mania.” Delara Derakhshani, policy counsel for Consumers Union, said, “AT&T’s takeover of DirecTV is just the latest attempt at consolidation in a marketplace where consumers are already saddled with lousy service and price hikes.” And John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney with Public Knowledge, commented,”The industry needs more competition, not more mergers.”