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AT&T Approached DirecTV About Possible Acquisition, WSJ Says

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DirecTV satellite installation
A DirecTV employee performs a satellite installation at a customer's home in Bixby, Oklahoma. DirecTV is the largest U.S. satellite-TV operator, with about 20 million paying subscribers and a market value of more than $39 billion. Photographer: Paul Taggart/Bloomberg

May 1 (Bloomberg) -- AT&T Inc., the second-biggest U.S. mobile-phone carrier, approached DirecTV about possibly acquiring the satellite-television company, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation.

It’s unclear whether the companies are in detailed talks, although DirecTV would be open to a deal, the report said, citing an unidentified person. The deal would probably be worth at least $40 billion, the Journal said.

The U.S. pay-TV business is in the midst of consolidation. Comcast Corp. agreed this year to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc. for $45 billion, while Dish Network Corp. Chairman Charlie Ergen has contacted El Segundo, California-based DirecTV to discuss a merger of the two satellite-TV companies, people with knowledge of the matter said March 26.

DirecTV is the largest U.S. satellite-TV operator, with about 20 million paying subscribers and a market value of more than $39 billion.

Any proposed acquisition of the company would probably be reviewed by the U.S. Justice Department and be subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission, the Journal said. Regulators blocked a merger attempt by DirecTV and Dish in 2002.

To contact the reporter on this story: Terje Langeland in Tokyo at tlangeland1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Frank Longid at flongid@bloomberg.net Terje Langeland, Peter Elstrom

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