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May 13, 2014

AT&T and BSkyB eye major broadcasting acquisitions

American and British broadcasters join Comcast in flurry of mergers.

By Jimmy Nicholls

News of major broadcasting deals either side of the Atlantic this week has signalled a revival of big business fortunes in the media and telecommunications.

US telecoms firm AT&T is looking to buy satellite television firm DirecTV in a deal thought to be worth $50bn. Separately UK broadcaster BSkyB is seeking to combine several European TV stations under one roof.

AT&T are offering up to $100 a share for DirecTV, compared with $87.16 per share when trading closed on Monday in a deal that could be closed within the next few weeks.

BSkyB is meanwhile seeking to acquire Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland in a deal said to be worth €10bn, creating a broadcaster with 20 million subscribers.

Rupert Murdoch currently owns 39% of BSkyB through 21st Century Fox, which also has a 55% stake in Sky Deutschland and wholly owns Sky Italia.

The announcements follow controversy in the US over a proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, a deal thought to be worth $45bn.

If AT&T deal is completed the resulting company would be comparable in size to Comcast should it succeeds in acquiring Time Warner Cable. Both US deals face regulatory approval.

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