Breakingviews

AT&T will struggle to justify $70 bln DirecTV bid

May 14, 2014

Expanding into satellite TV requires heroic assumptions to be financially viable. Just to cover its cost of capital, AT&T would need to find over $2 bln of synergies. That’s more than even Comcast pledges to squeeze from Time Warner Cable. The deal has a whiff of desperation.

AT&T deal dialing emits a shaky signal

May 13, 2014

First, it wanted T-Mobile US for more domestic subscribers. After regulators nixed the idea and Verizon cleaned up its wireless JV, AT&T pursued Vodafone for European growth. Now, DirecTV or Dish beckons at home. The rationale is questionable and the broader strategy wayward.

Rob Cox: The worry now is a brewing M&A bubble

May 13, 2014

The corporate urge to merge has gone into global hyper-drive. Activity has surged as investors egg companies on and bid up the shares of acquirers well beyond mathematical prudence. When new metrics to justify the irrational are trotted out, it’s time to exercise caution.

Comcast deal extends content’s precarious reign

July 11, 2012

Feuds between U.S. TV program creators and distributors are as ugly as the one in “Hatfields & McCoys.” So the $19 bln valuation implied by Comcast’s sale of a stake in the hit show’s parent company A&E is impressive. But fee fights like DirecTV and Viacom’s are the future.