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AT&T is Open to Selling DIRECTV as TV Losses Grow

AT&T TrucksToday during AT&T’s 3rd quarter 2019 earnings call, AT&T put out the idea that DIRECTV could be on the table for sale or a merger/partnership. According to AT&T, there are no “sacred cows” in its portfolio and it directly pointed a finger at AT&T’s DIRECTV satellite TV service.

This news comes as the investment group Elliott Management announced back in September that it now owns $3.2 billion of AT&T stock and that it’s pushing for AT&T to sell off DIRECTV. According to this long letter, AT&T purchased DIRECTV at its peak, and its streaming version DIRECTV NOW (now called AT&T TV Now) has been “poorly executed.” Because of this, Elliott Management is pushing for AT&T to sell off DIRECTV.

Just last week AT&T’s Chief Operating Officer John Stankey said: “We didn’t buy DIRECTV because we love satellite.” Stankey went on to say, “We bought DIRECTV because we love the customer base, and the customer base could be migrated into more on-demand-oriented products and services.”

It is starting to look like AT&T’s plan for DIRECTV is to pull as many customers as possible off of the service and move them to HBO MAX and AT&T TV. Again during AT&T’s 3rd quarter earnings call, AT&T said AT&T TV and HBO MAX are their main focus going forward.

DIRECTV’s satellite service may not be up for sale today, but it’s starting to sound like AT&T plans to get rid of the service after they have taken as many customers from it as they can.

The question now is will AT&T sell off DIRECTV or will AT&T find a partner to take over DIRECTV, leaving AT&T with some ownership over the satellite TV service?

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