AT&T to Roll Out Three Tiers of Streaming Service Next Year

AT&T announced it plans to introduce three tiers of a new streaming video service to launch in beta by the fourth quarter of 2019, although pricing and details have yet to be revealed. The WarnerMedia service, intended to take on Netflix and other streaming competitors, will offer movies and TV shows from Warner Bros., Turner and HBO. In the future, the unnamed service is expected to feature licensed content from additional media companies. The venture is part of AT&T’s larger plans to pursue areas outside of its core businesses following the company’s acquisition of Time Warner. Continue reading AT&T to Roll Out Three Tiers of Streaming Service Next Year

Sirius to Acquire Pandora Media in $3.5 Billion All-Stock Deal

Satellite radio giant SiriusXM is acquiring online music service Pandora Media in a $3.5 billion all-stock deal. The deal should help John Malone’s SiriusXM reach beyond its current audience that most commonly listens while driving, and better compete with Spotify. The satellite radio operator paid $480 million last year for a 19 percent stake in Pandora when it started losing subscribers to streaming services. Billionaire Malone has been expanding his radio empire; in addition to the Pandora deal, his Liberty Media has expressed interest in iHeartMedia. Continue reading Sirius to Acquire Pandora Media in $3.5 Billion All-Stock Deal

Gray Television, Raycom Media to Merge in $3.6 Billion Deal

Gray Television and Raycom Media jointly announced plans to combine their companies in a $3.65 billion cash-and-stock deal. Gray will acquire Raycom for $2.85 billion in cash, $650 million in a new series of preferred stock, and 11.5 million shares of Gray common stock. After spinning off nine stations, the combined company will operate 142 stations in 92 markets. Raycom president and CEO Pat LaPlatney will become Gray’s president and co-CEO, while Gray’s current chief Hilton Howell will serve as executive chairman and co-CEO.

Continue reading Gray Television, Raycom Media to Merge in $3.6 Billion Deal

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court in Washington has approved the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner, despite the Justice Department’s claim that the deal would stifle competition. Judge Leon ruled the Justice Department did not prove that AT&T’s $85.4 billion takeover of Time Warner would result in fewer consumer choices and higher prices for Internet and TV services. While AT&T aims to move forward with the transaction, the DOJ is reportedly considering its options. The decision is expected to impact the future of media and telecom industries, and spur additional mergers and related deals. Continue reading Federal Judge Rules in Favor of AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Xerox Sides With Investors, Cancels Planned Fujifilm Merger

Xerox is scrapping the proposed $6.1 billion takeover by Fujifilm Holdings Corp. in a settlement with activist investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason that also removes Xerox CEO Jeff Jacobson from his position, along with five company directors. According to Xerox, Icahn Enterprises chief Keith Cozza will become chairman, while John Visentin — a former senior exec at Hewlett-Packard and IBM — will take over as CEO. Fujifilm disputes Xerox’s right to terminate the planned merger. Continue reading Xerox Sides With Investors, Cancels Planned Fujifilm Merger

T-Mobile, Sprint Announce All-Stock Deal for $26 Billion Merger

Wireless carriers T-Mobile and Sprint on Sunday announced they have entered into a merger agreement for an all-stock transaction. The $26 billion merger would reduce the U.S. wireless market to three major players and give Japan’s SoftBank (Sprint’s majority owner since 2012) a greater presence in the U.S. If approved, the newly combined company would keep the name T-Mobile, and would be run by current T-Mobile U.S. CEO John Legere and T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert. The $146 billion entity would be controlled by T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom. Continue reading T-Mobile, Sprint Announce All-Stock Deal for $26 Billion Merger

SoftBank Suspends Negotiations to Merge Sprint and T-Mobile

After nine months of merger talks, SoftBank has reportedly suspended its plans to combine Sprint with T-Mobile US. This marks the second time in three years that Sprint has backed out of negotiations. According to those familiar with the matter, directors of SoftBank Group Corp. (Sprint’s parent company) met in Tokyo and opted to suspend the merger plans. Insiders indicate that the news came as a surprise to T-Mobile officials. While discussions could be revisited in the future, the same insiders note that the two sides could not agree on the valuation of Sprint’s shares, and SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son had concerns about relinquishing too much control. Continue reading SoftBank Suspends Negotiations to Merge Sprint and T-Mobile

FCC Reveals Plan to Roll Back Local Media Ownership Rules

The FCC plans to change rules regarding local media ownership, claiming the 42-year old rules are now outdated. FCC chair Ajit Pai revealed yesterday during a congressional hearing that there will be a vote next month to loosen current rules that prevent companies from owning a newspaper and a broadcast station within the same market. The rules originally intended to guarantee diversity of expression while aiming to curb undue influence over public opinion by an individual or single company. Democratic lawmakers voiced opposition during the hearing, but Pai defended the proposed plan and other recent deregulatory moves. Continue reading FCC Reveals Plan to Roll Back Local Media Ownership Rules

Mobile Companies Offer TV, Video and Music to Slow Churn

AT&T and T-Mobile are luring in new subscribers and holding on to existing ones by offering popular television content, including “Game of Thrones” and “Stranger Things.” T-Mobile, which now has an exclusive deal with Netflix, is offering free access to the streaming video service for subscribers who buy its unlimited family plan. AT&T expanded its HBO promotion to a larger circle of subscribers. In April, it offered free HBO to its Unlimited Plus Choice subscribers, and now expanded that to anyone with an Unlimited Choice plan. Continue reading Mobile Companies Offer TV, Video and Music to Slow Churn

Plans Confirmed to Merge Google Play Music, YouTube Red

At the New Music Seminar conference in New York, YouTube head of music Lyor Cohen said the company plans to create a new streaming service by merging Google Play Music and YouTube Red. “Right now, YouTube’s music ecosystem is unnecessarily complicated,” suggests The Verge. “There’s YouTube Red, which removes ads from videos and lets you save them offline, while also giving you access to Google Play Music for free. Then there’s YouTube Music, which anyone can use, but it gets better if you’re signed up for YouTube Red.” The move is meant to simplify the offerings and attract more subscribers. A date has not yet been announced. Continue reading Plans Confirmed to Merge Google Play Music, YouTube Red

SoftBank Reportedly Ready to Sell Sprint to Deutsche Telekom

When the U.S. spectrum auction ends in April, Japan’s SoftBank Group plans to approach Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile US about taking over Sprint, for a merger of the two wireless carriers. Until then, SoftBank is restricted by FCC anti-collusion rules preventing discussions between competitors. SoftBank ran into U.S. antitrust regulations two-and-a-half years ago when it was forced to stop negotiations to acquire T-Mobile for Sprint, a deal that would have put SoftBank in control with Deutsche Telekom a minority shareholder. Continue reading SoftBank Reportedly Ready to Sell Sprint to Deutsche Telekom

Daily Fantasy Sports: FanDuel and DraftKings Agree to Merge

Former rivals DraftKings and FanDuel announced they plan to merge their daily fantasy sports operations into one company, to be run by DraftKings CEO Jason Robins. FanDuel chief exec Nigel Eccles will become chairman. The board will include three directors each from DraftKings and FanDuel, plus an independent director, while headquarters will be divided between New York and Boston offices. The deal, which aims to increase innovation by freeing up money, is expected to close during the second half of next year. Continue reading Daily Fantasy Sports: FanDuel and DraftKings Agree to Merge

CenturyLink to Take On AT&T with $34B Purchase of Level 3

CenturyLink has agreed to acquire Colorado-based, fiber-optic network provider Level 3 Communications “for about $34 billion in cash and stock,” reports Bloomberg, “creating a more formidable competitor to AT&T in the market to handle heavy Internet traffic for businesses.” The deal gives Louisiana-based CenturyLink $10 billion in tax credits. CenturyLink chief exec Glen Post will stay CEO of the merged company, and Level 3’s Sunit Patel will serve as CFO. Both companies have been struggling against bigger names in business services. “We see this as addressing the opportunities in the enterprise business,” said Level 3 CEO Jeff Storey. Continue reading CenturyLink to Take On AT&T with $34B Purchase of Level 3

DirecTV Now: AT&T Streaming TV Service to Undercut Cable

Shortly after the Time Warner acquisition made headlines, AT&T announced that its streaming TV service, launching next month, will offer 100-plus channels for $35 per month. The company previously suggested that DirecTV Now would not undercut cable. “It’s clear what customers want. They want premium content in a mobile environment,” said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. “Our goal is to drive prices down.” The move can also be seen as a way to generate support for the Time Warner deal. “Regulators will heavily scrutinize the proposed merger of two such large and influential companies, but the pair are insistent that the deal benefits consumers,” reports Wired. “Certainly, Internet television benefits consumers.” Continue reading DirecTV Now: AT&T Streaming TV Service to Undercut Cable

Disney Said to Be Considering Possible Bid for Twitter Merger

Following the CNBC report that Google and Salesforce.com were among those being considered for a Twitter takeover, TechCrunch added that Microsoft and Verizon have also expressed interest. Today, headlines indicate that Disney is considering a possible bid. Bloomberg reports that Disney is working with an adviser on a potential deal, in what would be the company’s latest investment in a string of tech-related media businesses including Hulu, Vice and MLB’s BAMTech. The Wall Street Journal suggests that “a Twitter acquisition would be Disney’s biggest technology deal yet” and “could benefit ESPN as cord-cutting becomes more widespread.” Continue reading Disney Said to Be Considering Possible Bid for Twitter Merger

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