For more than a year, there has been recurring speculation that either AT&T or Verizon Communications could end up acquiring DirecTV, the key satellite TV partner to both telcos. However, last Friday in a speech at a NASDAQ conference, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg said there was no strategic need for his company to make such a deal.
The speculators may now count Verizon out as a potential buyer of DirecTV, but don't be surprised if Seidenberg's quelling only gives more life to speculation that AT&T could become DirecTV's suitor. Satellite TV partnerships have played an important role for both telcos as their fledgling wireline TV offerings gradually have found solid footing. AT&T committed to DirecTV as its sole satellite partner only late last year after using both DirecTV and Dish Network for a time, and then only Dish for a few months before making DirecTV its final partnership choice.
As I noted in a recent column, Liberty Media Corp's John Malone has had dealings with AT&T in the past. If AT&T does end up buying DirecTV, how would that affect Verizon's partnership with the satellite player? Verizon and AT&T have previously ignored observations that they could eventually compete more frequently against one another on the TV and broadband fronts, but such a satellite acquisition would force Verizon to re-assess how it feels about AT&T.
- Reuters has this story
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